LESSONS IN COMMUNICATION: BRINGING COMMUNICATION TRAINING AND RESEARCH TO GEOSCIENCE ACADEMICS AND PROFESSIONALS
We have distilled our research and experiences teaching communication into six ‘lessons’:
Lesson 1. Understanding and teaching communication requires a holistic approach which incorporates advice from the scholarly literature from many disciplines.
Lesson 2. Education research is vital for teaching communication effectively. Using sound pedagogy to build and evaluate curricula.
Lesson 3. Communication is cultured and highly contextualised. Learning about communication should incorporate social, political, economic, and cultural elements.
Lesson 4. Communication is multi-faceted (i.e., occurs in multiple formats and styles) and should be carefully considered to match the appropriate situation and information needs of the audience.
Lesson 5. Role-play is effective at improving students’ confidence and perceptions of communication in complex scenarios and to different stakeholders.
Lesson 6. Meaningful feedback is key to improving communication. It allows students to try out new strategies and receive specific feedback in a safe learning environment.
We will discuss the origins of these lessons, and why they are important for teaching scientists how to communicate. Additionally, we will highlight the successes and failures of running our knowledge transfer initiative, which is useful for geosciences public engagement professionals and organisations hoping to improve communication skills in the geosciences.