Teaching the Core Skills of Listening and Speaking

Teaching the Core Skills of Listening and Speaking

Teaching the Core Skills of Listening and Speaking

Teaching the Core Skills of Listening and Speaking


With the Common Core State Standards emphasizing listening and speaking across the curriculum, these long-neglected language arts are regaining a place in schools. For teachers, this means reexamining practices and rethinking expectations. How much do we know about teaching listening and speaking as the complex communication skills they are? How do we teach students to discuss appropriately, integrate and understand the mountains of information they receive, and express themselves clearly and effectively?

In this lively and practical book, 20-year teaching veteran Erik Palmer presents an approach aligned to the six Common Core anchor standards for speaking and listening but focused on preparing students for 21st century communication inside and beyond the classroom. Here, you'll get concrete guidance for teaching and assessing

• Collaborative discussion

• Listening and media literacy

• Questioning and reasoning

• Speech presentation

• Effective multimedia use

• Adapting speech to different content and tasks

With due respect to reading and writing, we do most of our communicating--in the classroom and in life--through listening and speaking. Filled with examples and specific activities targeted to variety of subjects and grade levels, this book is an essential resource for all teachers interested in helping students acquire core skills that cross the content areas and support long-term success.


How do you teach listening and speaking?

There are two ways to approach this question. The first is in a global, impersonal sense. The focus is procedure. Think of it as similar to questions such as “How do you copy a paragraph in a MS Word document?” and “How do you find a common denominator?” Many of us could quickly rattle off the process for finding a common denominator, but how many of us are prepared to describe the process for building strong oral communication? How do you teach listening and speaking?

My sense is that when many teachers consider the question, their first thought is, “Well, you really don’t have to. Speaking? My kids are always talking! And teaching listening? We are always doing that—always reminding them to sit still and be quiet.” But is this true? Are all of our students well spoken? Have they all mastered listening to each other, entertaining diverse points of view, evaluating evidence and supporting arguments, collaborating with others, and analyzing the media they are exposed to daily? Do they all communicate effectively in conversations, discussions, and presentations? Obviously not. Listening and speaking are skills, and like all skills, they can be improved significantly with deliberate instruction and purposeful practice.

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