The following is based on information from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/studentsuccess/thinkliteracy/files/Oral.pdf
Earlier, we discussed Think Literacy, a resource for teachers to integrate the development of literacy skills into any subject area from kindergarten through grade 12. These resources are designed to strengthen reading, writing and oral communication skills daily. Click here to read our previous blog: http://wp.me/pT6KW-6K.
This week, we will examine the Think Literacy approaches to enhance oral communication skills among our students. The best way to build confidence in oral communication is to provide opportunities for students to vocalize their thoughts or to think out loud. Below are a few strategies that allow students to practice verbal communication skills.
- Think-Pair-Share: A teacher may ask a class of students to engage in a think-pair-share. This involves posing a question or a discussion topic to the class, instructing students to break off in pairs to discuss, and returning to the large group to share ideas. To keep dialogue on task, ensure that students know that each pair will be called upon to share with the whole class.
- Jigsaw: A jigsaw activity requires students to read information on a given topic, and become an ‘expert’ on this concept. The teacher divides the class into 5 ‘expert groups’, each with a different topic to learn. Next the class is divided into new groups, comprised of one member from each different ‘expert group’. In this setting, students are to present the information they gathered on their topic to the rest of the group, allowing each student to listen to and learn from 4 different peer presentations.
- Four Corners: This activity asks students to make a choice and justify their reasoning, sharing their opinion with peers. To facilitate this activity, the teacher presents the class with a question, to which they have 4 possible responses, each posted in a different corner of the classroom. An example would be: I think that all students should wear uniforms. The four accompanying responses may be (1) Strongly Agree, (2) Agree, (3) Disagree, and (4) Strongly Disagree. The teacher poses a question, asks students to decide and move to a corner, and then discuss their thinking with their peers and then with the whole group.
For more examples of oral communication exercises, visit Think Literacy. Strong oral communication skills are vital, and must be a part of every child’s classroom experience.
For more information on oral communication, contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space 416.925.1225 or visit www.ruthrumack.com.