Why teach speaking intensive classes?


Most university classes are constructed
on a writing intensive model, but there are some reasons why teaching a speaking intensive class can be critical to your student success. In 2015 the Association
of American Colleges and Universities published a study on what employers are
looking for in college grads. One of the key findings is that oral communication was the top-ranked learning outcome for both employers and college students,
coming in at eighty-five percent for employers. One of the reasons we can be hesitant to
create speaking intensive classes is that the term brings to mind hours of
endless terrible PowerPoint presentations. PowerPoint presentations
are not the be-all and end-all of speaking intensive classes, however, if
those don’t float your boat. There are many field-appropriate
assignments, like having students work on explaining technology, or work on
developing their interviewing skills, that are an excellent fit in a speaking
intensive class. Although George W. Bush’s communication skills didn’t seem to hold him back politically, they certainly led to fodder for quite a few jokes. Another reason to introduce speaking into
your classroom, is that as a relational activity, speaking can help students
connect to each other, to ideas, and to you in ways that reading and writing cannot. TED Talks can be an excellent way to introduce effective oral communication to students in a way that’s also content specific. One TED talk I like to show students, to
highlight effective presentation skills, is Kevin Breel’ss “Confessions of a
depressed comic.” Students find this speech very relatable. In short, introducing speaking intensive
assignments into your class can help students both improve skills and connect. Achieving these goals can help you develop a rewarding experience in your
classroom – both for you and for student outcomes.

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