Oral Communication in English Forms Functions and Strategies Contents in Malaysia

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ESP World, Issue 1 (27), Volume 9, 2010, http://www.esp-world.info


Teaching Oral Communication Skills: A Task-based Approach

M. Mojibur Rahman
Assistant Professor

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Indian School of Mines University, Dhanbad

Oral communication fulfills a number of general and discipline-specific pedagogical functions. Learning to speak is an important goal in itself, for it equips students with a set of skills they can use for the rest of their lives. Speaking is the mode of communication most often used to express opinions, make arguments, offer explanations, transmit information, and make impressions upon others. Students need to speak well in their personal lives, future workplaces, social interactions, and political endeavors. They will have meetings to attend, presentations to make, discussions and arguments to participate in, and groups to work with. If basic instruction and opportunities to practice speaking are available, students position themselves to accomplish a wide range of goals and be useful members of their communities. (http://www.com.uri.edu/comfund/cxc.shtml) This paper describes the applications of the task-based approach to teach oral communication skills in an academic setting. A course ‘Oral Communication Skills’ is taught to the students of Engineering and Technology at Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad to make them proficient in oral skills. The present study tries to explore the possibility and feasibility of task-based approach to apply for the teaching of oral communication. Key Words: Oral Communication, Task-based approach, dimensions of oral communication, academic setting.

The present study is based on the author’s four years classroom experience at Indian School of Mines. The author has been teaching Oral Communication Courses since 2005. At ISM students come from all over India through Joint Entrance Examination conducted by Indian Institute of Technology. Their schooling is with different medium of instruction. They take a course ‘English for Science and Technology’ in first year. The course ‘Oral Communication Skills’ is taken by those students who are less proficient in oral communication.

Teaching Oral Communication Skills: A Task-based Approach 1 M. Mojibur Rahman

ESP World, Issue 1 (27), Volume 9, 2010, http://www.esp-world.info


With the globalisation, calls have been made for graduates to be proficient in oral communication skills so that they can function effectively in the academic and Professional setting. Consequently, oral communication skills course is included in undergraduate classes. Despite the need, and the varied ways of including oral communication skills in curriculum, there appears to be little research available that provides a more precise understanding of the methods and approaches of teaching oral communication for undergraduate students. Oral communication covers a wide area, ranging from formal presentations to participation in teams and meetings. This paper tries to seek the possibilities to apply task-based approach in teaching oral communication skills. This study reports on an investigation into the teaching of oral communication to the students of Engineering and Technology at Indian School of Mines. The paper first describes the dimensions of 'oral communication skills' and taskbased approach'. It then introduces the institutional contexts in which the oral communication skills course is offered, and the goals of this particular course. The paper concludes with some remarks on the strengths and the limitations of applying task-based approach in teaching oral communication skills. Oral Communication Skills For successful communication, students require more than the formal ability to present well and a range of formulaic expressions. Successful communication is contextdependent and therefore embedded in its particular discourse community (Bizzell, 1989). Oral communication...
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