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Improving the Oral Communication Skills in Classroom

Discussions are used in the classroom for many reasons: discussions increase student interest and participation, help get feedback from teachers, facilitate good lecture preparation, and improve student skills. There are many benefits to having class discussions during class (Vetter et al., 2020). Classroom discussions are a common pedagogical approach that involve verbal exchanges of information between teachers and students (Murphy et al., 2020). Encouraging and facilitating class discussions can help students learn from each other and better understand and remember the lecture.

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Many theoretical studies support the importance of class discussions after lectures. Class discussions are the simplest strategy for engaging all participants in discussing the material (Slavin, 2018). Lectures ending in discussions help students focus and increase their interest in the subject. By discussing their answers, they get different points of view (Slavin, 2018). Good questions and answers can make students think deeply and make connections. Through discussion, the teacher receives feedback: as students answer questions, instructors can assess whether students understand the materials. If a student answers a question incorrectly, teachers can help students correct their answers. If the teacher regularly engages students in class discussions, students are more likely to come to class prepared, such as asking questions about an assigned reading.

Developing students’ conversational skills through discussions is essential. Teachers prepare students to speak in front of their peers confidently. Public speaking is a skill that improves with more practice (Cruz, 2019). When teachers promote class discussions, they prepare the students to work in real-life settings (The Theory and Practice of Group Discussion, 2021). Discussions also help teachers control the classroom environment: if students are inattentive, the teacher may refer to them to concentrate better in the classroom. As a result, students are more attentive to what happens during lectures.

There are several effective strategies for using class discussion. One of them is the color discussion method, in which students have their color that accompanies them throughout the lesson; this method works especially well in an online lesson (Handbook of Research on Online Discussion-Based Teaching Methods, 2020). Students like choosing their fonts and colors while experiencing the novelty of having multiple people type on the same document. Teachers benefit as they can quickly scan and follow color-coded participants.

Another method for effectively using class discussion is to walk through the galleries. Teachers can create gallery walks by placing photos and images around the room at stations. Students group and move between stations for a specific purpose. One of the most important considerations is to have a content rich enough for students to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and conversations (Improving Classroom Engagement and International Development Programs, 2020). This strategy is well suited for both online learning and regular lessons. Another strategy can be called panel discussion, which involves dividing the class into three groups. The moderator asks questions, part of the group participates in the discussion, and the rest is the audience. The moderator directs the discussion, and the panelists act as “experts” on the topics. Thanks to the changing roles, this kind of discussion keeps all students engaged.

Thus, class discussions are one of the most effective teaching strategies to increase student’s interest in the learning process, improve their speaking skills and keep them motivated. This method also benefits teachers: it allows them to control the educational process and receive feedback from students. With the implementation of group dynamics, all students confidently expressed their opinions in class discussions (Markevych et al., 2022). Discussions help highlight the key points of the lecture, help students build their own opinion, and identify students who need to devote more time to understand the lesson’s topic. There are several ways to use the discussion method in the classroom: using color, which is especially important in an online lesson, and walking through the gallery, developing creative thinking. These methods allow the student to remain involved in the discussion and teachers to control the learning process.

References

Blessinger P., Sengupta E. & Makhanya M. (Eds.). (2020). Improving Classroom Engagement and International Development Programs: International Perspectives on Humanizing Higher Education. Emerald Publishing Limited.

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Cruz, N. (2019). Improving the Oral Communication Skills of Senior High School Students Through the Use of Task-based Strategy. GRIN Verlag.

Lo M.L. & Chen, C.C. (Eds.). (2021). The Theory and Practice of Group Discussion with Quality Talk. Springer Singapore.

Markevych, Y., Khavanska, A., & Filenko, I. (2022). Improving Students’ Ability to Communicate Interpersonally in English Classroom Discussions through Group Dynamics Implementation. JELITA, 3(1), 34-43.

Murphy, P. K., Firetto, C. M., Lloyd, G. M., Wei, L., & Baszczewski, S. E. (2020). Classroom discussions. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Web.

Slavin, R. E. (2018). Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice. Pearson.

Vetter, A., Schieble, M. & Martin, K. M. (2020). Classroom Talk for Social Change: Critical Conversations in English Language Arts. Teachers College Press.

Wilton L. & Brett C. (Eds.) (2020). Handbook of Research on Online Discussion-Based Teaching Methods. IGI Global.

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