Communication Barrier Issues Faced By University Students
October 25, 2023
A new semester has begun recently. How does it go so far?
Do you face difficulties in understanding classroom language or making new friends?
If yes, this circumstance is related to the communication barrier.
Communication does not only involve language used by two or more individuals. It also refers to an exchange of information through signs or behavior.
This issue is very important to tackle as it occurs among university students. As a student, you must understand how this problem affects your academic performance.
Continue reading for more information.
Understanding Communication Barrier
In an academic context, the university is an education hub where international and local students gather to pursue their education.
Therefore, the communication barrier happens when they struggle to comprehend and communicate in a non-native language.
Here is a breakdown of the communication problem:
As a university student, you might experience difficulty in understanding lectures and course materials due to differences in accents and vocabulary.
Different accents can affect your ability to understand the message in a lecture. While the use of unfamiliar vocabulary leads to confusion.
Regarding having accents in a non-native language, it may sound cool. However, it hinders the student's understanding of the lecture in the academic context.
They are more focused on the accent than understanding the message delivered.
Most universities encourage students to participate in class discussions.
Class discussion is a session of exchanging information between a lecturer and students.
However, a class discussion would be poor if the students were not fluent in the language.
They might hesitate to share their ideas or struggle to understand the discussion topic.
It leads to feelings of isolation and disengagement from the learning process.
c) College assessment
The language barrier is a part of the communication problem. As a college student, you are required to do group assessments, such as writing and presentation.
During this period, you might be having trouble interpreting the assessment's instruction and task division set by your teammates.
If you let this problem continue, it will affect your academic performance and self-esteem.
Strategies to Overcome Communication Barrier
1. Concise communication
Having clear communication may seem straightforward, but it is challenging.
As a college student, you may organize group discussions to exchange thoughts and ideas.
During these sessions, you must set a clear topic and allocate time to ensure you achieve your objectives.
For instance, you notice some improvements need to be made at certain parts of your group written assessment.
Then, during your discussion session, you should focus on the improvements, not other trivial ones.
Doing so will assist your group members to stay focused and comprehend the message correctly.
Plus, if you have an international student in your group assessment, you must speak slowly. It helps them to understand your objectives better.
2. Ask the listeners to repeat
When you participate in an academic discussion with your group members, you must ensure everyone is on the same page.
You can ask your group members to repeat your points. Doing so can confirm that your message has been conveyed correctly.
3. Choose the right setting to talk
Being a university student does not restrict you to focusing only on academics.
You could enjoy your days to join activities or become a committee for an event.
So, what happens when you are occupied with other things? You shift your focus from academics to such matters.
Imagine if someone talks to you when you are in a hurry to attend a program. How would you react to the message delivered in haste?
Surely, your time is constrained to reply properly or show that you understand the message's objective.
Hence, choosing the right setting is very important in developing efficient communication.
Choose a specific day, time, and location where you and your friends can gather to discuss important matters.
Ensure that everyone has enough time to fully participate in the discussion. Schedule at least one hour for the discussion session, with 30-40 minutes of active conversation.
You can use the remaining time to walk to class, grab lunch, or return to your hostel/ home.
4. Encourage people to talk
When you conduct a discussion, you cannot be the only one who does the talking.
Remember, a discussion is supposed to be an interaction of exchanging information.
If you are the only one who talks, wouldn't it be better to give a TED talk show instead of a discussion?
So, what should you do?
Instead of bombarding your friends with information, each member has to take turns to talk. Allocate 10-15 minutes for them to explain the information properly.
If you have a suggestion or question, wait until your friend finishes talking.
5. Improve your communication skills
You can improve your communication skills by practicing in front of a mirror or using an online tool.
You can set 10 minutes to practice by giving a random topic. Before starting practicing, you must do some research related to the topic.
Then, you must organize the points based on your gathered information to ensure your speech is sequenced and interesting.
For starters, you may refer to the notes. However, as you practice more, avoid glancing at your notes frequently.
Doing so will make your speech full of filler words such as "um" and "em."
As you become more confident in your speech, try making eye contact with your audience. You can practice this by looking into your eyes in a mirror's reflection.
Or you can use a free and convenient communication tool called Teleprompter Online. It is a tool you can find on Google.
You can put your text in the box provided, adjust speed and duration, and focus on the screen as if it is your audience.
Side note: It's okay if you stumble at the beginning of the process. Remember that practice makes perfect.
Every practice will boost your self-esteem and improve your future career prospects.
In conclusion, the communication barrier is not trivial, as it affects your academic performance and self-esteem.
You must address your concerns and improve your soft skills to overcome this problem.