Communication Lesson Plans and the Struggle for CTE Teachers Blog Feature
Sarah Layton

By: Sarah Layton on October 13th, 2015

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Communication Lesson Plans and the Struggle for CTE Teachers

Career Readiness | Communication Skills

Where can I find some new communication lesson plans that my students and I can get excited about?

CTE teachers know that to get students ready for the work force, it's no longer simply about certifications and licenses.

While those items are critical, so are communication skills that will get them a foot in the door and then a lasting foothold on their careers.

But ask any CTE teacher and they'll tell you that finding meaningful ways to teach communication lesson plans is a struggle.

We know because teachers have been asking us for more communication content for quite some time.

Can you relate to any of these comments from teachers and CTE directors.

communication lesson plans

Why Are Communications Skills Lesson Plans a Struggle for CTE teachers?

Many CTE teachers migrate to teaching from other careers, and so soft skills are already natural to these professionals.

But in the acclimation to teaching from doing, it's not surprising that the need to teach students those soft skills can get overlooked.

In reality, it seems that teaching soft skills has never been so important as it is right now. And there is good reason for that.

Childhood and young adulthood isn’t the same experience it was in the not too distant past.

The lifestyle and environment that children and students are experiencing today is not properly preparing them for working with others and performing well in the workplace outside of their actual job skill.

It may be a real struggle for some CTE teachers to wrap their heads around how to teach skills like communication.

Shouldn't students automatically know how to do these things? No?

Okay, but now how do I go about teaching that which comes naturally to me?

It can be a real problem for teachers, particularly when they want to focus on those skills that they are more passionate about.

And forget about creating communication lesson plans specifically, what about just the act of developing effective lesson plans in general? 

“I knew business, but I didn’t really know how to go in there and create lesson plans," says William Graham, a business and computer science teacher at Holcomb Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta, Georgia.

True for Graham and true for so many CTE teachers.

So not only is the act of developing lesson plans a new challenge, add to that the fact that soft skills and communication skills aren't necessarily subjects these teaching transplants have in their repertoire.

It's important that these teachers can find good resources to support their efforts to meet requirements for developing and teaching soft skills and communication lesson plans.

The art of effective communication - Why communication lesson plans are important

Happily, we went about putting together not one, but two new modules that focus solely on getting your students ready to confidently communicate in the professional world.

I asked Celestial Holmes, from our curriculum development, team about how communication lesson plans got on their radar.

"In today's society, with much of communication relying on technology, it is increasingly difficult for students to understand the art of effective communication," she said.

1. Business Communication Module

When describing the Business Communication module specifically, Holmes says, "This module seeks to educate students on what communication is, verbal and nonverbal communication, and the importance of collaborative communication."

Students get the opportunity to demonstrate active listening skills, plan team communications, identify their own communication style, and determine how to flex their style to meet the needs of other communicators. 

This module introduces students to principles of communication including the sender-receiver communication model.

Students will learn effective verbal, nonverbal, and collaborative skills, which are imperative for productive interactions in the workplace and society.

To achieve that end, students will go through these units:

Introduction to Communication

Introduction to Communication provides students with the basic framework supporting effective communication skills.

Students will define communication, practice active listening, and identify and implement the basic steps to the communication process.

Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

In Unit 2, students will explore the importance of both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Students will identify the roles that verbal and nonverbal communication play in making communication effective.

After completing this unit, students should be able to apply some techniques to improve their personal abilities to communicate.

Collaborative Communication

In Unit 3, students will identify the principles of effective collaboration.

Students will also identify the different communication styles and determine their own communication style.

In addition, students will determine how to plan, organize, and conduct a meeting.

2. Written Communication Module

In this module, students learn how to write effective business communications, specifically emails and letters.

Students take on the role of an employee for a large toy and hobby store.

They are tasked with resolving a customer issue with one of the store's best-selling toys, using the written communication skills they learn in the module.

To master written communication, students will work through these units:

Effective Business Writing

In this unit, students begin by learning why effective business writing is important.

Next, they learn techniques for creating effective written communication, such as knowing what questions to answer before writing, and how word choice affects the tone of the document.

Students will take on the role of an employee for a large toy and hobby store. In this role, they will help other employees improve their written communication using the techniques they've learned.

Writing Emails and Letters

In this unit, students continue in their roles as a toy and hobby store employee.

This time, they are given more responsibly and must now resolve a customer issue with a very popular toy.

The solution requires them to write a business email and letter. Through completing these tasks, they learn about the writing process and how to use it.

Students also learn how to write a properly formatted business email and letter.

Writing Your Own Communications

In this unit, students continue to resolve the customer issue with the toy.

They use what they learned in the previous units to compose a business email and letter on their own.

The email is sent to the toy manufacturer, and the letter is sent to the toy and hobby store customers.

The most important thing about communication skills is that you are actually teaching them!

Finding good communication lesson plans shouldn't be the hard part.

Start Teaching Communication with Business&ITCenter21

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Business&ITCenter21 is here for you! 

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About Sarah Layton

Sarah has been with AES since 1998, first serving as a curriculum developer, and now as a customer support analyst and content creator. She is committed to helping instructors gain experience and confidence using our solutions and to providing excellent customer care.