Types of Communication Skills and Attitudes
II. Communication Skills
This can be divided into three parts:
1. Definition of Communication
Generally, communication can be defined as a process of exchanging information from the person who gives the information, either through a verbal or non-verbal method, to the person who receives it. Baker (2010: 01) defines communication as “the act of transmitting and receiving information”.
In addition; it is defined as “a process of passing information and understanding from one person to another” (Davis, 1967 cited in Singla, 2008: 236).
This means that communication is transmitting understanding too, not only information. Based on these definitions, the main elements of communication can be distinguished: the sender, the information and feedback by the receiver.
The sender is the person who sends the idea to another person or to a group of people like a teacher who informs his students about the date of an exam, the information is the message or the idea being communicated and this example, it is the date of the exam, the receiver is the person or the group of people who receives the information or the message like the students in the given example and the feedback whichis the response by the receiver and it marks the completion of the communication process.
2. Types of Communication Skills
Three types of communication skills have been encountered. First, the verbal communication in which, the message or the information is communicated through words.
Verbal communication may be of two types: Written and oral. Oral communication refers to any type of interaction between individuals through the use of words. It includes both speaking and listening skills.
The sender and receiver exchange information and ideas verbally through face-to-face conversations or any technological device like telephone or video calls through social media. It takes place through face-to-face interaction, group discussions, interviews, radio, television, calls, letters, reports, notes, emails, etc.
Whereas, the written communication refers to communication that uses a written form of language which means letters, words, and syntax to transmit meanings and ideas. It occurs through the use of papers, computers or phones.
Verbal communication takes place in a number of different situations. It can be during face to face conversation or by telephone. It may take place on a one to one basis, or in a group or lecture stetting. It involves the use of words or sounds and languages.
Verbal communication usually involves two aspects: one person speaking and another listening. (H. Baston, J. Hall and A. H. Enion, 2009: 12)
That means that verbal communication may be between two persons in the same place and at the same time or between two people through a telephone call.
It can also between one person and a group of people like between a teacher and his students during a lecture. It involves the use of words and sounds when speaking and it can be through any human language . it have two aspects or two essential elements, the speaker and the listener.
Second, the non-verbal communication, where the message or the information is communicated through gestures, facial expressions and eye contact.
“Nonverbal messages include facial expressions, eye contact or lack of eye contact, proximity, and closeness, hand gestures, and body language” (Miller, 2005 cited in Barmaki, 2014: 441).
Third, the visual communication is defined as “all the ways that writers and readers interact through the look of pages and screens. ”(Hilligos, 1999:01) . In other words, it is where the message or the information, is transmitted through visualization.
Visual communication can be anything like eye contact, map, chart, facial expression, signals, and poster. It also includes graphics, books, animation, illustration, painting, interactive web design, advertising, and short films.
3. Communicative Competence
According to Troike (2006: 100), the concept of communicative competence was adopted by many specialists. It involves the knowledge when to speak, what to say, to whom, and how to say it in an appropriate way in any given situation.
According to Brown (2000: 245), “Communicative competence is related to the knowledge that allows a person to communicate functionally and interactively”.
It means that communicative competence involves what allows people to communicate either to interact or for different purposes, to use the language with its different functions. (Canal and Swain, 1980 cited in Tavakoli, 2012: 68-
69) have identified four components of communicative competence namely grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse and strategic competence.
First, the Grammatical Competence, which includes knowledge of grammar, and vocabulary, is related to speech sounds (phonetics), how words are formed (morphology), in addition to the rules governing the combination of words to form sentences (syntax) and the way meanings are conveyed (semantics).
Second, Sociolinguistic Competence, which includes knowledge of socio-cultural rules of use, is to know how to use language appropriately according to the context, the setting, the topic and the relationships among people.
Besides, it is to know how to use language taking into consideration cultural differences, taboos, etc; because what is correct and appropriate in one culture or society, may be incorrect and inappropriate to say in another.
For example, if a person asks you about your age, it is worth considering that such a question might be acceptable or even desirable in his or her culture while in yours it is not.
Third, the Discourse Competence; it is related to the learners’ ability to produce and comprehend oral and written texts. It is the knowledge of how to organise words and sentences to create conversations, poetry, articles, speeches, etc.
It deals with cohesion by knowing how to use cohesive devices like conjunctions and adverbial phrases and also coherence between ideas in different types of texts.
For instance, to know the main parts of a formal letter and being able to write each one of them including its necessary elements.
The fourth component is the Strategic Competence which refers to strategies to be used in case of grammatical, sociolinguistic or discourse difficulties such as the use of reference sources, paraphrasing, repetition, clarification, guessing, etc.
A speaker may be unfamiliar with or may misunderstand the topic being discussed and in this case, there is a need for certain strategies to overcome and repair these difficulties.
For instance, a native speaker of English with a non native speaker, the native speaker may find difficulties to transmit the message they want to the non native speaker because the level of the language mastery differs and here they explain and clarify each time what they say, they repeat, they even translate when necessary in order to be better understood.
1. Definition of Attitudes
Allport (1935: 810) defines an attitude as “A mental or neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence on the individual’s response to all objects and situations to which it is related”.
It is, then, a psychological state of the individual of viewing or perceiving something or a situation that concerns them. It can be either positive or negative.
Another definition of attitudes is provided by Eagly and Chaiken (1993: 01) who say that an attitude is “a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor”. This means, an attitude is expressed by assessing something or someone either positively or negatively.
For example, a teacher proposes to his students a new method of doing tests, some students may have positive attitude toward this, they will like the idea and will be curious to discover it and try it while other may have negative attitudes, they will not like the idea and they will still prefer the old one and they will not have any readiness to try it.
2. Importance of Attitudes
While conducting a study about a subject, it is important to know the attitudes of the people concerned. In this study, the teachers of ICTs and the students of Master One are the participants. Reid (2003: 33) declared, “Attitudes are important to us because they cannot be neatly separated from the study”.
An attitude determines outcomes and helps to know to what extent can the thing succeed or fail and it also defines what our actions will be, whether to
adapt the thing, technique or strategy or not; and in our case whether collaborative visualization can be adapted or not and to what extent it can succeed.
IV. Theoretical Framework
1. G. Erkens’ Coordination Process Theory (2005)
Coordination, according to the Online Cambridge dictionary, is “The act of making all the people involved in a plan or activity work together in an organized way”. Thomas and Crowstone (1993: 90) provided another definition which is “Coordination is managing dependencies. ”
This means that if there is no interdependence, there is nothing to coordinate. In collaborative learning, it is essential for students to coordinate and increase their efforts to join a common goal.
Indeed, they construct knowledge through interaction. “A collaborative situation may be defined as one in which two or more students work together to fulfill an assigned task within a particular domain of learning to achieve a joint goal” (Cohen, 1994, cited in Erkens et al. , 2005: 466).
According to Erkens et al. , (2005: 466) collaborative learning encourages three main processes. The first one consists of the mutual activation and share of knowledge and skills which is a process in which all the students should participate for an exchange of information and knowledge and skills.
This can be seen in group activities and exposés where students share knowledge and exchange information and it is noticed that some students ask their mates rather than their teachers to better understand the given topic.
The second process is grounding or creating a common frame of reference, this enables the group members to understand each other for an effective communication . There will probably be different perceptions because each member has his experiences and skills.
If students are given an assignment they need to have this ground, they need to share the knowledge about the topic; otherwise, they will not collaborate to complete the task.
For example, a teacher divides the class into groups and gives each group a statement and asks them to explain it. If the members of the group do not have common information, if they do not refer to the same ground they will not be able to collaborate and accomplish the task.
The third one is negotiating and coming to an agreement. It is natural for everyone to have their personal opinions, beliefs and perceptions of things. In this process, students will try to attain agreement between them.
For example, when a teacher gives students a pair work, every two students are supposed to read a given text and extract the most important information from it, one of them may find what the second finds important not important and may be the contrary, here they find themselves in a situation where they have to negotiate these information and come to an agreement and select the appropriate information and accomplish.
Within these processes, three activities can be distinguished, Erkens et al. , (2005:466). First, focusing in which students should try to maintain the discussion by showing interest.
It is done by asking questions, suggesting ideas, etc. Then, checking which occurs by asking questions of clarification enables students to check whether the other group members agree or disagree with the proposals.
Finally, argumentation in which students should ask verification questions, show agreement and give many examples, and this is a good strategy for argumentation to finish with a solution that satisfies everyone.
All this can be summarised in what has been said by Erkens et al. , (2005: 466),
In earlier researchwe found that thiscoordinationis realized by a complex interaction between task related strategies, cooperative intentions andcommu nication processes during collaboration.
In the collaborative learning situation the learning results will be influenced by the type of task, the composition of the group, the complementarily in expertise of the participants, the resources and tools available, and the educational climate.
In order to achieve the common goal the collaboration partners will have to coordinate their activities and their thinking. They will have to activate their knowledge and skills and will have to establish a common frame of reference in order to be able to negotiate and communicate individual viewpoints and inferences.
This means that to realise coordination, there should be a certain relationship between techniques used in collaborative activities, cooperation and communication during a collaborative activity .
In addition to this; for better results, there should be a successful collaboration which realises when students share knowledge and information among them, when they share the same frame of reference, and when they negotiate, and all this is related to communication, since all these procedures are involved in it and by following each time these processes, students may promote their communication skills .
As a conclusion, this chapter has discussed the main points concerning collaborative learning and collaborative visualization. It has also provided the readers with an understanding of communication skills and their relation with collaborative visualization with a brief explanation of attitudes and their importance in conducting this work.
Besides, the theoretical side, which consists of the theory of coordination process that includes its major principles, has been covered. This chapter contains various terms and key points that were used in this study. The following chapter will investigate the methodology adopted in this study.