Texas Speech Communication Association
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Lesson Plan

Communication Process

Lesson Plan Type Standard
Estimated Time 2-3 periods
Grade 9th-12th Grades
Author Ann Shofner and Mellessa Denny

Overview  •  Standards  •  Instructional Plan  •  Documents


Materials: bean bag, small rubber ball, another small object like a stuffed animal (beanie baby size or smaller)

Hook: Ball and brain--Have students form a circle. The teacher joins the circle. The teacher hands a ball to the student on the left and says, "this is a ball." The student replies, "a what?" Teacher restates, "this is a ball." That student continues the process by passing the ball to the left and making the same statements.Teacher hands student on the right a brain and says, "this is a brain." The student replies, "a what?" Teacher restates, "this is a brain." This student continues the process by passing the brain to the right and making the same statements. The objective is for both objects to make it around the complete circle and return to the teacher. When the objects meet in the middle of the circle, confusion will ensue and communication becomes more difficult as students voice their input on completing the task. (Often the task is not completed because of communication breakdown.) Any two objects can be used for this activity. Debrief the activity by asking why the task was unsuccessful.

Lesson:  Ask students "what is communication?"  Give them feedback on whether their definition works and why/why not.

                 Define communication as the process of exchanging thoughts/ideas in order to achieve understanding. 

                 As lesson is taught, you can use the bean bag activity.  (See Bean bag activity under Documents)

                 Discuss the elements of communication and the communication model. (See communication model notes under Documents)

Guided Practice:  Prepare 4" x10" strips of construction paper and write the following words on the strips:  sender, encode, receiver, decode, frame of reference, message, feedback, verbal, nonverbal, context, channels, interference,and communication.  Take a second set of strips and write the definition of each of these words on the strips.  Make two sets of the definitions.

Divide the class into two groups and put them on separate sides of the room.  Give each group a set of definitions. 

When the game begins, the teacher holds up a word and each team must locate the correct definition.  The team who stands up first with the correct definition earns a point.  If the definition is wrong, the other team can steal with the right definition for the point.

Game continues until all definitions have been covered or until the teacher feels that the class understands the words and their definitions.  Winning team earns a prize such as getting to leave the classroom first when the bell rings or a pencil, etc. 

For an additional activity, see Communication Model Drawing under Documents.

Independent Practice/Assessment:  Under Documents, see Communication Model quiz and Using the process of communication

Closure:  Short answer --Who has the harder job- the sender or the receiver?  Justify your answer.