The Power of Communication Teaching Oral Communications Skills to High School Students

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					                                   PROFESSIONAL LEARNING TEAM REPORT
                                               2011-2012
PLT Title
The Power of Communication: Teaching Oral Communications Skills to High School Students

Blurb for PLT Conference Brochure
In a rapidly changing educational and commercial environment, communication skills – often deemed
“soft” skills – are becoming more important than ever. Yet, schools have not adequately addressed this
need through formal curricula. Students will need to develop sound oral communication skills for
virtually every aspect of their lives, from acing a college interview to landing that first job and even
securing a life partner!


Contact Information (Write * next to facilitator’s name.)
              Name                               School                      Grade Level or Subject
*Josh Goldfine                     Belmont High School                  High School Social Studies
Eric Berkman                       Belmont High School                  High School Social Studies
John Sullivan                      Belmont High School                  High School Social Studies

Guiding Theme
       Differentiated Instruction/RTI
       Integrated, Real-Life Experiences
   X Acquisition of 21st Century Skills
       Deepening Teacher Content Knowledge
       Improving School Climate/Culture
   X Teaching the “Whole Student”
       Other (explain) _______________________________________________________

Inquiry Question
How do we better teach high school students speaking and presentation skills in order to improve oral
communication?


Process
 September-Select area of interest, define question & complete PLT Inquiry Question organizer
 October-Create survey to send to BHS staff & send e-mail to BHS staff requesting existing rubrics &
   instructional documentations for assignments involving oral communication
 November-Analyze data from both BHS staff surveys & requested documentation
 December-Complete scoring rubric designed to assess specific criteria related to oral
   communication skills
 January- Assess students according to scoring rubric (without prior skill-building instruction) in order
   to assess current level of communication competency and adjust rubric and/or lesson as needed
 February-Begin to design instructional lessons geared toward teaching the specific oral
   communication skills (designed criteria)
 March-Complete designing of instructional lessons geared toward teaching the specific oral
   communication skills (designed criteria)
   April- Implement lessons designed in prior meetings which assess oral communication skills using
    scoring rubric and assess student data
   May-Compile presentation & present to fellow BPS staff

Findings
• Teacher survey data: Though 80% of teachers at least occasionally require students to demonstrate
oral presentation skills, 65% of teachers rarely or never use scoring rubrics to assess these skills.
Additionally, 70% of teachers rarely, if ever, TEACH oral communication skills.
• Student PRE-instruction survey results: 90% of students rated their classmates’ oral
communication skills as poor or merely adequate, while 90% of students rated their own oral
communication skills as poor or merely adequate.
 Assessment data: Roughly 75% of students improved oral communications skills after completing
the lessons.
 Student POST-instruction survey results: Approximately 75% of students reported their oral
communication skills improved through instruction. Additionally, more than 90% of students reported
they were likely to use the skills they were taught outside of class

Recommendations / Next Steps
 We believe that we have put together both a scoring rubric and a series of lessons which any
teacher – in any discipline – could use to improve student oral communication.
 We would like to see BHS move toward a standardized means of assessment oral communication
skills, as these continue to be more important than ever before in terms of securing a spot in college,
gaining employment and many other aspects of one’s life outside of BHS.
 We would like to see classroom teachers further implement the teaching of oral communication
skills into our lessons, especially since budget cuts have recently eliminated courses such as Public
Speaking from the BHS class offerings.

				
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posted:9/29/2012
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