Oral communication skills are important for students to develop across a range of classes. Research shows that having students engage in discussion during class can increase their confidence in oral communication.

Dallimore, E. J., Hertenstein, J. H., & Platt, M. B. (2008). Using discussion pedagogy to enhance oral and written communication skills. College Teaching, 56(3), 163-172.

 

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Enhancing Speaking Skills: Evaluation Strategies
Enhancing Speaking Skills: Preparing and Motivating Students to Speak

Have students help create a rubric for oral presentations to get them thinking about all different aspects of a successful presentation.

Action:

  • Ask students to co-design the rubric that you will use for evaluating student presentations.
  • Ensure students include important dimensions in the rubric by comparing it to existing oral communication rubrics.

Reason:

  • Allowing students to co-design a rubric using their own language can help them understand the rubric and can ensure they have read it.

Invite non-class members to presentations to create a context in which students must explain their ideas to an intelligent person unfamiliar with the class material.

Action:

  • If feasible, invite people to attend students’ class presentations. You can use an online form such as Google Forms to collect RSVPs.
  • Consider having your guests provide feedback to the presenters.

Reason:

  • Students can take pride in sharing their knowledge with non-class members.
  • Imagining this type of audience for the talk encourages students to provide relevant background.

Give students plenty of opportunities to talk about the course topics to ensure they get practice expressing and clarifying their ideas

Action:

  • Ask students to articulate their ideas orally and ask students to ask each other clarifying questions when they don’t understand what someone has said.

Reason:

  • Every class discussion is an opportunity to develop students’ oral skills since they receive feedback from their peers and you regarding the the clarity of their contributions.