Instructional Methods: What does the term communication mean according to the various schools of thoughts?


Chapter Eight

Communication in the Classroom

8a i). Define the term communication, according to the various schools of thought.

There are two schools of thought that have emerged; process and semiotic schools. The first school of thought is derived from the field of social science while the latter is drawn from linguistics and the humanities. The schools see communication as a process by which information is exchanged and understanding facilitated between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior. Proponents of process school’s approach to communication define it as transmission of information, ideas, attitudes or emotions from one person to another or from group to group through symbols.  Burton and Dimbleby for instance, conceptualize communication as something continuous and active, with no boundaries and no beginning or end, thus a process.

The Semiotic school of thought visualizes communication as the production and exchange of meaning.  Such views are advocated by the following scholars: Burton and Dimbleby who contend that communication is all about the construction and sue of signs and meaning from one’s point of view, Groenewegen (1930) whose concept of communication entails an exchange between people and Fiske who sees it as a social interaction through messages.

Meaning is an important element in communication because individuals create their   own meanings and interpretations in order to understand themselves and the societies in which they live. The interpretation of the message received whether verbal or non-verbal is culturally conditioned and influenced by one’s experiences in the social, cultural economic and political fields. Different symbols or signs mean differently for people from vast environments and cultures. People use various culturally based signs and codes to express themselves and to share meanings with other peoples


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