Practice Sixteen – Introduction

Practice #16

Educators and learners employ effective interpersonal communication skills.

Contents include Printable materials, Ready-to-use Strategies, and Web links in the following sections:

Implementation Basics

Ideas for Implementation

Implementation Evaluation and Goal Setting

Life Principle



Hand Signs

Practice Connections

Practice Characteristics

Evidence of Practice




Music & Video Links

Learning Strategies

Mind Map

Goal Setting Process with Individual and Class Forms and Examples

Introduction to Practice #16

Educators and learners employ effective interpersonal communication skills.

The WHY? of Practice #16!

Implementation supports:

  • Proficiency in communication and social skills
  • Development of soft skills needed for employment and cultivation of positive relationships
  • Development of confidence, friendliness, and courtesy
  • “A competent voice” in sharing ideas, opinions, and values


  • Effective oral communication, which certainly includes competence in meeting and greeting someone, learning the person’s name, introducing him, and issuing words of welcome, is one of the seven survival skills identified by Tony Wagner is vital for what young people need for life in the twenty-first century. Wagner, T. (2008). The Global Achievement Gap, New York: Basic Books.
  • Making others feel welcome and comfortable is a form of courtesy and thoughtfulness. As learners become grounded in the habit of giving consideration to how others feel, they are developing a character trait that will contribute to a respectful, safe, and impressive learning environment. Character First, Available online:
  • Good interpersonal skills are crucial ingredients for the success of cooperative learning projects. Riel, M. (2006). Learning Circles Teacher’s Guide.
  • Orderly schools usually balance clearly established and communicated expectations with a climate of concern for students as individuals. Duke, D. L. "School Organization, Leadership, and Student Behavior." Strategies to Reduce Student Misbehavior. Available online: http.//


Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

- Mark Twain




For Research: see Rationale for 17 Practices - Practice 16 – pages 34-35 on the Great Expectations website.


The WHERE? EVERYWHERE learners are engaged in the instructional process.

The WHEN? - Daily use of the elements of Practice 16 will:

  • Improve educator-learner relationships.
  • Promote a sense of confidence in learners by being able to respond to a situation with correct protocol and courtesy.
  • Develop effective oral communication and interpersonal skills that will transfer to successful employment.
  • Provide opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills.

(Printable Poster)

Main objection: "This takes too much time!" Response: What are the goals for all learners?


  • To model and instill respectful communication habits that result in positive social interactions.
  • To create a threat-free environment that encourages individuals to take risks in learning and to become confident, positive learners.
  • To personalize learning by giving “a voice” for each learner’s ideas, opinions, and values.
  • To use high expectations to challenge, motivate, and encourage all learners to communicate their questions and ideas.
  • To increase learner perception of his/her abilities through support, goal setting, and social/academic success.


  • Creating a culture of respect and belief that all learners are capable, responsible, and productive.
  • Building communication skills that transfer to successful personal and work relationships.
  • Providing an environment conducive to risk-taking and academic success.
  • Allowing leadership opportunities through personal and real-world experiences.

Application to Employment Skills:

Developing Employability Skills - School Improvement Research