Oral Foundations--Part 2

Barbara, our guest blogger,
highlights key points about
the importance of accounatbale talk in
Bridging English, Ch. 4

Storytelling can be used with all age groups and requires many skills. Technology has opened up the ability to add a visual and auditory track with the narrator’s voice. The power and beauty of digital storytelling can be created by people around the world and shared. The student’s judgment between image, word and sound becomes more decisive. They also use critical thinking about tone and audience.
Features include:
·         Use of gestures
·         Facial Expressions
·         Body Language
·         Variety in tone of voice to get story across
·         Dramatic placement of a character within a scene
·         Character voices
·         Stories can be rehearsed

Interviewing is oral language in the classroom using a nonperforming approach. Interviews can be organized in a variety of formats with many topics and interviewees.

Four Types of Interviewing:

·         Inside Out: Students themselves are the interviewees. Classmates interview them to learn what they know and feel and what they care to reveal.

·         Outside in: People who live beyond the classroom walls are interviewees.

·         Extensive: Interviews involve more general information and probes of more public events.

·         Intensive: Interviews that involve questions that are more personal and inward.


Chart from Bridging English, 5th Ed, Chapter 4

Value Chat: Students take the hot seat before the class and answer questions from classmates.

Partner Probe: Students interview each other in pairs to explore more private thoughts and personal feelings.

Expert Query: Students ask individual adults about political insights, career patterns, or specialization skills.

Retrospective Talk: Students go outside the classroom to interview grandparents or friendly elders with questions about their life experiences.

StoryCorps: A national project affiliated with National Public Radio and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. A forty minute interview with a loved one can be recorded and is kept at the Library of Congress.

I found the Readers’ theater a practical and beneficial strategy that we can all use in our classrooms. It does not require memorization of lines because student’s can use their scripts to read from. This takes the pressure off of them so they can participate more freely without fear or failure. This will help build confidence in students to try other types of oral activities and be successful in doing so.

I learned from the reading that oral expression is just as important today as it has always been. We as teachers must encouraged our text driven, Facebook writing, twittering students to speak from their mouths, not only through their fingers. They need these oral expressive skills to be able to interview for a job, express themselves to love ones, and make their feelings known on important issues in their lives. We as teachers need to give them a platform they can learn from and use for the rest of their lives. I enjoyed my time in drama, speech, and debate in high school and college. Hopefully with the strategies and ideas listed in this chapter we can bring a new generation of orators to life.

What are your thoughts about this?
Have you tried using readers’ theater, storytelling, or interviewing in a classroom setting?
Do you have any good ideas to get our students interested in speaking in class and outside of class?
Bridging English, 5th ed. by Milner & Milner & Mitchell