Oral Communication in English: Forms, Fuction, and Strategies in the Malaysian Context

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Oral Communication
July 2008
Definition
Oral communication skills are a set of abilities enabling individuals to become confident and competent speakers/communicators by the time they graduate. Rather than thinking of oral communication skills as the ability for a student to make a speech, it is important to consider both informal and formal uses of communication within a situation. Rationale

Oral communication skills equip students to effectively comprehend, critique, and analyze information, communicate clearly and persuasively, and express ideas. Oral communication is one of the intellectual and practical skills outlined in AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes. Intellectual and practical skills were identified as one of the areas of strategic interest and were defined by President Byrd as including three elements: 1 •

“The ability to think critically

The ability to communicate effectively

The ability to collaborate and work as a member of a team” (emphasis added)

(http://www.simpson.edu/plan/committees/action/IPS_finalreport.pdf). Communicating effectively is necessary both for critical thinking and for working as a member of a team. Criteria for Approving Proposals

In order for a course to be designated as an oral communication course, the course needs to include: 1 •
explicit instruction in effective oral communication

provide opportunities for students to practice oral communication skills •
provide feedback to students in order to help students develop their oral communication skills •
assess the extent to which students can meet the learning outcomes identified below

Learning Outcomes:
The student who is a proficient oral communicator in a formal communication situation (e.g., presentation of research material, persuasive speech; debate) can: 1 •
Demonstrate the basic principles for organizing ideas appropriately for accomplishing informative and persuasive communication objectives; •
Demonstrate critical thinking skills when examining arguments, sources, processes, etc.; •
Locate, use, and correctly cite appropriate evidence to support their claims; •
Communicate effectively in a variety of rhetorical situations.

A student should also be able to communicate successfully in more informal situations (e.g. class discussions, one-on-one conversations). In informal communication situations a student who is a proficient communicator can: 1 •

Articulate thoughtfully their perspective/understanding of the topic; •
Listen carefully to others in the conversation;

Synthesize the different ideas presented in the conversation.

Source Information on Similar Requirements at other Good Schools Described below are different ways other institutions have integrated oral communication into their curriculums. The University of Wisconsin – Madison includes written and oral communication as a part of the general education program. Faculty can seek to have their courses designated as Comm-A or Comm-B courses. Comm-B courses emphasize the oral communication component. The UW Writing Across the Curriculum website offers advice on how to incorporate oral communication activities into the classroom. High Degree of Formality and Out-of-Class Preparation

1 •
Debate

Trial

Presentation of research results

Significant Degree of Formality and Out-of-Class Preparation 1 •
Student- or group-led discussions on readings, writings, or other course material •
Role-play

Performance

Relatively Small Degree of Formality and Little Out-of-Class Preparation 1 •
Peer-review groups in which students share drafts and give each other oral feedback •
Small-group discussion

"Work-in-progress" presentations (1-2 minutes) to present paper topics, new ideas, or interesting research to the entire class •
"Open-mike" readings of finished work to share and to celebrate work accomplished

Almost No...
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