How to Teach/Learn Everyday and Challenging Kinds of Speech
Not so long ago, there were clear rules and directives for the teaching/learning of Oral Communication. These were designed for use in both casual conversation and academic Speech courses. In those days, such procedures and advice seemed to work for both language learners and “just plain folk” that wanted to improve the effectiveness of their English.
But with all the changes in technology, communications, and politicking in the world, do these common-sense directives still have value? Here are images that suggest eight kindsof speech still in existence today. They don’t necessarily make a point about how to best listen and talk, so what do they suggest?
From Speaking: Oral Language Skills for Real-Life Communication,in bulleted Pieces of Advice, here’s a summary of “Conventional Wisdom” for four kinds of expression usually perceived as agreeable, communicative, and healthy. If you click on the titles of the parts where the four kinds of speech are covered, you’ll get not only a sample of that kind of oral interaction, but also instructions for a “Mini-Speech” of your own.
Use Narration to Report, to Make Conversation, and/or to Entertain
Tell Events in a Clear Order & Style
Use Your Voice Skillfully to Make Meaning Clear
Use Facial Expressions & Gestures to “Punctuate” Dialog
Perfect Your “Timing”
But what about other(more complex or more challenging?) kinds of speech—those that couldbe perceived as difficult or controversial? Again, fromSpeaking: Oral Language Skills for Real-Life Communication, here’s a summary of the pedagogy—a recap of the main pieces of advice—for four other kinds of oral communication.
And again, if you click on the underlined title of each relevant section—or on the visuals below (the four first pages of the excerpts), you’ll get the original article in a “Mini-Lecture” text format. It may be followed by a Sample Conversation or Speech; Oral Practice (an activity designed to rehearse lesson principles); and/or instructions for making a Mini-Speech of the same kind of your own.
Here are some rules and practices that used to be accepted and effective in these more "dangerous” kinds of speech:
Make Sure You’re Discussing the Same Question or Issue
Using “Deductive” Rather Than “Inductive” Reasoning: Begin with Your Conclusions. Then Explain Your Rationale.
Concentrate on One Point at a Time. Don’t Confuse with Irrelevant Info or Reactions
Organize Your Points So That Listeners Can Follow Your Logic
Summarize Each Point Right Away or at the End of Your Presentation
So those are the conventional rules and procedures for learning to understand what others mean to say and to express yourself in eight kinds of speech. Do they still hold today?
Does the attempt to “Teach/Learn/Improve Language Based on ‘Truth in Abnormal Times’ in an Always Evolving ‘Age of Alternative Facts” change our conversation about ourselves, our environment, other people, and the situation of our world?
How are these 8 kinds of speech adjusting? Which styles of attempted communication are going out of style? Which are being added to our repertoires?
Here are some first attempts to articulate the kinds of rules, procedures, and practices that could be added to what works in oral exchanges:
Part Unnumbered: The Language of Our Changing World:
Agree to Agree on Definitions of Basic but Controversial Words like “True,” “Facts,” “Proven,” “Real,” “Positive,” “Useful,” “Understand,” etc.)
Make It “Illegal” or at Least “Immoral” to Try to Win by Defeating Others · Take the Most Direct Route for “Getting to Yes” by Applying Any & All Rules That Have Worked Before
Discover, Try Out, & Expand New, Even More Effective Practices & Technique
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About Work/Life English For over 35 years, Work/Life English has been dedicated to improving the lives of native and non-native English language learners. We offer a comprehensive range of fun, effective English language improvement lessons, strategies, and activities to help adult education ESL educators successfully engage their English language students and improve their English competencies, leading to a host of positive effects in students’ professional and personal lives. Better English, Better Life. For more information, visit www.worklifeenglish.com.