Examples of Activities that Teach Oral Discourse

Examples of Activities that Teach Oral Discourse:
Formal Presentations
A formal presentation is one way for students to demonstrate the ability to synthesize and
communicate information or logical arguments. Examples of formal presentations include:
Individual presentations
Team presentations
Structured debates
Panel or poster sessions
Oral examination
Informal Speaking Opportunities
Informal speaking opportunities are a way for students to develop interpersonal communication
skills, critical listening and assessment skills, as well as explore collaboration, problem solving
and conflict resolution techniques. Examples of informal speaking opportunities include:
General Group Discussion (TBL or Discussion Sections)
Student discussion/debate on a topic within a course
Active listening and response
Interactive in-class debates
Oral Performance
These performances enhance communication skills by encouraging students to verbally connect
with audiences and, in some cases, other performers. Oral performance requires students to
rehearse, articulate and deliver information in an appropriate and clear fashion. Examples of Oral
Performance include:
A rehearsed theatrical presentation
An interpretive reading
A stand-up monologue
Suggestions for Incorporating Oral Discourse in the Major:
The following are a few suggestions for how programs could use the learning objectives and
example assignments above to include the oral discourse competency in their program. These
examples could be adopted alone or in some combination by departments.
Require that graduating majors give a presentation or poster session at some point during
their senior year to faculty and other students in a regularly scheduled forum
Enrich capstone research and writing courses with credit for an oral defense or other
Use video tools and chats in Blackboard to allow students to organize and develop
presentations for structured feedback. Large majors can incorporate these into their
introductory courses as foundational skills for later in-person presentational requirements
Provide the structure and opportunities (either within a course or as a supplemental
activity) for students to debate formally, using evidence and reasoning to challenge or
defend judgments and decisions that are representative of disciplinary practice
Add a one credit discussion section to any course in the major to provide a small group
setting in which students explore presentation frameworks consistent with disciplinary
standards and get an opportunity to practice theories and the vocabulary of the discipline
Require students to attend departmental colloquia to observe and later model disciplinary
styles. A class discussion related to the colloquia could help students evaluate and
understand norms for oral presentation in the discipline. Students could then incorporate
lessons learned when developing their own oral presentation skills, putting them into
practice during a class session
Employ team based learning in lower level required courses to build student comfort with
the communication of ideas in small groups and to their classmates. Presentation models
and feedback expectations developed at this level can be incorporated into required oral
performances at the upper levels of the major
Develop a student led brown-bag series for the discussion of research or current events of
interest to the discipline
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