I've been appointed as Director of business school services which deal with numbers of different organizations in different parts of North America. Ottawa Business School is an international school which has excelled in many various countries and regions for decades now. It is considered one of the top universities in North America and is regarded as one of the world's most highly business schools. Its MBA program is frequently ranked among the global top. Ottawa Business School teaches postgraduate programmes in finance and management for experienced business executives, Masters in Finance, Masters in Management, and PhD.
It was established in 1975 as part of existing universities such as Toronto Business Schools as well as Montreal Academy for Business Administration. It has close collaborations with the nearby Montreal Academy and the Modern Language Centre at Ottawa's College Institute.
The admissions process at OBS is highly selective; making it is one of the most competitive business schools in the world. The School has over 10,000 students in more than 30 different cities and states. One of the most important tools used in Ottawa Business Schools is the communication between the different branches amongst the various cities and the communication used between the staff members and students. Some means of communication used in a place like OBS is face to face communication, emails, fax, telephones, meetings (verbal and non-verbal communication) etc.
OBS has approximately 620 educated and experienced teachers and professors with various backgrounds in all branches. Most of the staff members have either a Masters or PhD Degree with enough experience to teach in any business facility.
I am very delighted to be in this wonderful position. However, as time passed, I began to notice that communication between the fellow students and staff members was not as coherent as should be. I had to take immediate action and look into this problem. For this university to stay on the top and for the students and faculty to be in a well structured environment, communication needed to improve. Communication is vital for any organization to succeed.
Communication is an important part of teaching because the students have to be able to understand the message that the teacher is trying to convey. However, I have noticed some physical barriers that have affected this. These barriers included the lack of listening skills that the staff and students conveyed, and the lack of feedback given by the students to show their understanding.
Effective listening is one of the most important factors in classroom communication. However, in Ottawa Business School, this is a source of communication problem. People often fall short listening cautiously. Also, when people are in a disagreement, they often ponder more on what they are going to say in reply to their opponent's statement, relatively than listening to their opponent's words with full attention. For example, when a student and a teacher get into a little argument about school issues, one of the two might be too upset to even listen to what the other has to say. The result, again, is misunderstandings, and often needless rise of a conflict.
Taking the time to deeply search the problems at Ottawa Business Schools, I was very upset when I noticed that a lack of feedback prevailed in the classrooms. Working 25 years in the business world, I knew how important it is for feedback to be given. It is essential as wrong or lack of feedback can cause many deficiencies in all the types and ways of communication in general. Feedback is critical for the sender to be certain that the receiver decoded his or her message in the right way. Nevertheless, I was shocked to see the student's involvement in some of the classes. No questions were being asked, by both the students and teachers and even when asked by teachers, the students did not answer. How did the teachers know that their students fully understood what was being said or asked?
Sadly, at that point, it also came to my attention that, I, as the Director of this university, have not taken the time to engage with my fellow students and know or be informed if they believe some of the regulations should be altered. This was also a cause of lack of feedback and communication.
These physical barriers were not the only reasons that broke down the flow of effective communication in the lower level of the organization. A big part of it was due to cultural barriers. Speakers often are not clear about what they imply, which assures that what they say will be unclear as well. Even when people are familiar to what they mean, they often do not declare it as clearly as they should. Moreover, people often get baffled about other people's messages. This is particularly common when people from diverse cultures try to communicate, which may occur repeatedly in places such as schools, organizations, or even gatherings. Ottawa Business School is an international society which includes a number of different people with different nationalities and languages. I have noticed that since the cultures are diverse here, it is simple for the same statement to denote one thing to one person and something different to someone else. Teachers are not exactly aware of this. For example, passing an item to someone with one hand is considered highly rude in Japan while it is acceptable in the Eastern Countries. Gestures can also be misinterpreted. For instance the O.K gesture in America and England is given to mean everything is o.k., while in France it is considered an insult. Even though it might not seem as an insulting aspect, some students are very cultural and this can offend them.
I also became aware that both teachers and students have predisposed thoughts about behavior based on people's culture. One of my staff members has been unfair to a group of students from China. They have been treating them in a round and biased manner. When these Chinese students ask questions in class, they do not get prompt answers. This has also influenced the other students to treat the group of Chinese students in a disrespectful way in and outside of class.
The final barrier that came to my concern was the behavior barriers. These included the verbal and non-verbal methods. Several staff members displayed a great deal of attitude towards their students. They did not fully listen to them and interrupted them while speaking. When attitude got in the way of communication, people declined to listen to one another.
Teachers have also brought all sorts of issues to work that had nothing to do with their job. These included personal troubles, family issues and other problems. These dilemmas have put teachers under immense stress and due to this stress, I have noticed that the teachers have not been teaching or listening well and have been less effective communicators.
It was my responsibility to overcome these communication problems. I took the time to elaborate on each of these situations and I finally came up with reasonable resolutions. I held a meeting with the staff members to set some rules and regulations. It was very essential for the teachers to know that listening plays a very important part in the education of the fellow students. I made it clear to my staff members that active listening was the main method to overcome the listening barrier. Active listening is an organized way of listening and responding to others and focusing full attention on the speaker. When teachers interrupt the speaker before letting them finish, they are essentially saying that they don't value what they are saying. This can make students feel that their opinions do not matter and not participate in class. I made it clear that teachers should change their methods in class and make sure that they respond and engage with the students to show that they are effectively listening. This would also overcome the lack of feedback displayed in class. Teachers should make sure that they are frequently asking questions and receiving answers. It is up to them to make sure that the students understand the subject. They may check for students body languages, hand gestures, etc.
Ottawa Business School is one of the top universities in the world. If the cultural barriers were not overcome, this university would have a bad image to all. It was vital for the staff members to respect other's cultural and beliefs. Teachers should be proactive when approaching a new culture. They should respect their background. It is also necessary to evaluate people on an individual basis. It is important to evade judgment, avoid mistaken beliefs, narrow perspectives, and immature feedbacks. Any staff member who cannot accept these conditions will immediately be fired.
The final barrier that I had to work upon to overcome was the behavior barrier. I understand if a teacher comes to work upset or personally bothered by something once or possibly twice. However, they should take responsibility and put their feelings aside for the day or attempt to control them. An upset person tends to ignore what others are saying and are unable to present ideas effectively. It was my duty to inform the staff about this so it does not happen again.
Taking the time to assess the progress of my university, I came upon the different barriers that have affected and reduced effective communication between the students and staff members. By taking action to overcome these problems, Ottawa Business School will have a better environment for all. Students do not have to be concerned about teachers not listening to them anymore, or treating them in a round manner or behaving harsh in class. Hopefully, students will now be more engaged in the various discussions and activities in class and communicate well with their classmates and staff members.