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Speaking and Listening

Unlike reading, which does not get passed down genetically, humans are hard wired to comprehend and communicate information through speaking and listening.

According to the Common Core State Standards:

To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must have ample opportunities to take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations as part of a whole class, in small groups, and with a partner.(National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010, p. 22)

What does the Research Say?

While we begin to learn more words through reading than oral language beginning in third grade students comprehend more through speaking and listening more than just reading (Stricht & James, 1984).In fact the research by Stricht and James found this gap extends well into middle school.

Anecdotally most people will report learning more when they have a teacher and students to discuss issues with rather than trying to learn and read on your own.

Bartholomew (1989) introduced six steps in the listening process

  1. Receiving
  2. Attending
  3. Understanding
  4. Analyzing
  5. Evaluating
  6. Reacting

Yet just like motivation and reading the listener brings different purposes to the text they listen to such as purposeful, discriminative, or critical (Miller, 2000).

This requires integrating purposeful listening and speaking into the classroom but also in the daily discourse of text based discussion and analysis (Fisher & Frey, 2014).

Technology has also greatly shifted, or perhaps returned us to a more visual and oral world of speaking and listening. The book has only dominated human culture for 800 years. That is just a blip, not even a jingle in the commercial break of human story telling. The new multimodal compositions (Selfe, 1998) combine a multiplicity of text (New London Group, 1998) that require an agency and artisrty (Tierney, 2000).

In the Classroom

The Common Core State Standards grade level expectations greatly increase the amount of speaking and listening that should occur in the classroom. The standards do not simply reflect the need to listen and to deliver speeches. In fact the presentation of knowledge only makes up one group of standards in the speaking and listening strand.

Overall as a teacher model how to set a purpose and stage for good listening. Model listening skills in the elementary school. Wait for everyone to pay attention before speaking to create a culture of good listening in your classroom. Encourage note taking and arrange the classroom for active discussion and not just passive listening to the teacher.

In terms of building listening comprehension and speaking skills consider more the routines rather than the units and the lesson plans.

If you examine the Common Core State Standards for Speaking and Listening you have two strands. The first focuses on comprehension and collaboration. The second on presenting the knowledge. If you read the grade level expectations, however, much of the speaking and listening occur in the normal instructional routines around accountable talk.

Instructional Routines

Overall the majority oif anchor standards will require collaborative group work with students engaged in productive work while being held for quality talk and the processes around planning long term presentations,

You have to format the groups of students purposefully. It is not about ability grouping but arranging students into the ideal groupings that increases their use of the language of the lesson and the concepts they should comprehend.

Think about these routines in activities as students, read, write, and participate with the content. You can include speaking and listening opportunity before, during, or after any of these moments in your learning activities.

Ignite Talks

Reciprocal Teaching

Literature Circles

Barometer Strategy

Paired Texts

Hot Seat

Snow Ball Discussion

Pinwheel Discussion

Affinity Mapping

Fish Bowl Discussion

Concentric Circles

Gallery Walk

Think Pair Share

Co-Teaching Stations


Talk Moves

Four Corners

speaking_and_listening.txt · Last modified: 2022/04/28 00:27 by jgmac1106