Oral Communication across the Curriculum

By Ediger, Marlow | Journal of Instructional Psychology, September-December 2011 | Go to article overview

Oral Communication across the Curriculum


Ediger, Marlow, Journal of Instructional Psychology


Proficiency in oral communication is necessary in school and in society. To do well in the different curriculum areas, pupils must speak with clarity and understanding. For example, in a discussion group in the social studies involving the topic "the pros and cons of raising taxes," pupils need to express knowledgeable ideas with appropriate voice inflection in stress, pitch, and juncture (pauses), including a proper pace. Listeners need to be able to comprehend what was communicated orally (semantics). The oral content may lack proper word order (syntax) which makes comprehension difficult.

The teacher must diagnose diverse types of errors in oral communication and provide objectives and learning opportunities which strengthen oral communication procedures (Ediger, 2011).

Teaching and Learning in Oral Communication

There are a plethora of learning opportunities involving oral communication which should assist pupils to do well in each academic area. These activities need to be goal centered. Thus, there are needed speaking skills which all need to embrace in communicating effectively. First of all, pupils need to be helped to perceive purpose in developing oral communication skills. These are not routine, nor done for the sake of emphasizing quality communication, but rather to assist pupils to communicate effectively. The receiver must be able to attach meaning to what the sender intends in communicating messages. Thus, much responsibility rests upon the pupil to send clear content. He/she must see reasons for engagement which might consist of an oral report, for example, about becoming a master craftsman, involving three stages of achievement (apprentice, journey man, and master) in a unit on the Middle Ages. The learner might have selected this topic in guild membership due to personal interests in making a product of that time. Criteria such as the following ,based on developmental needs, should be stressed emphasizing fluency in orally presenting ideas:

* developing and using an outline to present sequential subject matter

* having the subject matter well in mind when reporting to pupils

* using voice inflection and quality pacing to encourage listening (Ediger, 2011).

Excessive criteria should not be used at one time to assist pupils in listening. A few relevant criteria may well provide the right ingredient to assist pupils in good listening habits.

Second, high pupil involvement in an activity assists learners to attend and listen carefully to the thinking of others. Thus, within a science unit of study, pupils with teacher guidance might develop an experiment on air taking up space. Cooperating planning may include a crushed tissue paper placed inside an inverted tumbler. All need to see the occurrences clearly and raise questions when necessary. The inverted tumbler is then placed inside the classroom aquarium which is filled with water. Pupils then hypothesize as to what will happen to the crushed tissue paper. Each hypothesis is recorded pertaining to the one variable in the experiment. …

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