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8.3: Effective Verbal Communication

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    Communicating effectively requires using all forms of classroom talk in combinations appropriate for particular utterances and interactions. In various places earlier in this book, we have suggested ways of doing so, though in those places we usually did not frame the discussion around the term communication as such.

    Effective content talk

    In Chapter 8, for example, we suggested ways of talking about content so that it is most likely to be understood clearly, but in that chapter we described these as instructional strategies. In explaining ideas, for example, whether briefly or as a extended lecture, we pointed out that it helps to offer, in advance, organizing ideas, to relate new content to prior knowledge, and to organize and elaborate on new information. In the same chapter, we also suggested strategies about content talk intended for students, so that students understand their own thinking as well as possible. We especially highlighted two ways of learning: inquiry learning and cooperative learning. Table \(\PageIndex{1}\) summarizes instructional strategies both for students and for teachers, and indicates how they contribute to effective verbal communication about content.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Strategies for supporting content talk



    How it helps communication

    Content talk by teachers

    Using advance organizers

    Statements or ideas that give a concise overview of new material

    Orients students’ attention to new ideas about to be learned; assists in understanding and remembering new material

    Relating new material to prior knowledge

    Explicit connections of new ideas to students’ existing knowledge

    Facilitates discussion of new material by making it more meaningful to students

    Elaborating and extending new information

    Explanations of new ideas in full, complete terms

    Avoids ambiguities and misunderstandings about new ideas or concepts

    Organizing new information

    Providing and following a clear structure when explaining new material

    Assists in understanding and remembering new material

    Content talk by students

    Inquiry learning

    Students pursue problems that they help to formulate for themselves

    To formulate and and investigate a problem, students need to express clearly what they wish to find out.

    Cooperative learning

    Students work in small groups to solve a common problem or task

    To work together, students need to explain ideas and questions to fellow students clearly.

    Table \(\PageIndex{2}\):: Major strategies of effective procedural and control talk

    These strategies are also discussed in Chapter 7 as features of classroom management, rather than of communication. Note, too, that the difference between procedural and content talk is arbitrary to some extent; in many situations one kind of talk serves the needs of the other kind.

    Strategy for procedural talk

    Strategy for control talk

    Creating and discussing procedures for daily routines

    Creating and discussing classroom rules of appropriate behavior

    Announcing transitions between activities

    Clarifying problem ownership

    Providing clear instructions and guidance for activities

    Listening actively and empathetically

    Reminding students periodically of procedures for completing a task

    Using I-messages

    Effective procedural and control talk

    In addition to communicating about content, teachers need to communicate procedures and expectations about appropriate classroom behavior. In Chapter 7 we described quite a few ways to communicate with students about these matters, though, in that chapter we did not refer to them as methods of communication, but as methods of classroom management, of creating a positive learning environment, and of resolving conflicts in the class. Table 19 summarizes several of the major strategies described in that chapter.) By framing communication in these ways, we called attention to their importance as forms of communication. As we pointed out, procedural talk and control talk matter are used in teaching simply because clear procedures and appropriate classroom behavior are necessary students are to learn.

    This page titled 8.3: Effective Verbal Communication is shared under a CC BY 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kelvin Seifert & Rosemary Sutton (Global Text Project) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.