Reflecting on action: a case study of lessons learned from teaching process communication to middle school students in a traditional public school classroom

Effective communication is the basis for all learning. In order to thrive and not just survive in the traditional educational setting, students must be empowered with the necessary communication skills and social skills to truly understand not only the instructional material, and also possess a deeper self-awareness that they can carry with them throughout life. This study sought to answer the question: Can direct instruction in and practice of the Process Communication Model® empower students to improve their level of academic and behavioral success? A co-taught seventh grade language arts class of 31 students (19 male and 12 female) participated in this study. This particular group of students had been identified by teachers and school administrators as academically disadvantaged and disciplinary problems. After a week-long unit including researcher demonstrations, hands-on learning activities, simulations, and time for student self-reflection, 16 students raised their grade point and five students maintained their previous average. Of the 10 students who did not raise or maintain their previous grade point average, seven students had no disciplinary incidents for the remainder of the year, and the mean number of disciplinary infractions fell from a monthly average of 10.7 to three. Results suggest that direct instruction of the Process Communication Model may increase academic achievement and lower the number of behavior problems at school. Key Words: Process Communication Model®, behavior support, academic achievement