The classroom is abuzz with students jotting down notes and eagerly inserting themselves into a fast-paced full-class discussion. Observant comments from every member of the class forward the conversation towards a collective higher understanding of the topic at hand.
This is my go-to vision of ideal classroom discussion. But as I have immersed myself in conversations about communication across the curriculum here at the Schwartz Communication Institute, I have come to realize that A) this vision is sometimes hard to achieve, and B) it is only one of many models for meaningful oral communication in the classroom.
Why do we urge students to speak in class? What does success look like when they do so? What unique roles does oral communication play in the many diverse disciplines that Baruch students study? These questions are at the center of two projects I’ve been working on this year at BLSCI.
The first is a short video that speaks to the role of spoken communication across the disciplines. I interviewed three professors here at Baruch: Mathematics professor Peter Gregory, Business Management professor Ed Kurpis, and English professor Cheryl Smith. I asked them about the role of spoken communication in their disciplines and in their classrooms. While their responses reflect the particular demands of their disciplines, they all highlight the centrality of speaking to developing ideas and mastering knowledge in the classroom, and to communicating authentically and effectively in the outside world. See what they have to say here:
The second project is a faculty development workshop that I am leading later this week (Thursday, February 27, 12:45-2:15pm) with Law professor Valerie Watnick. We’ll be covering a wide variety of strategies for facilitating meaningful, focused and lively discussion in the classroom. You can find details about this workshop, and all BLSCI workshops and roundtables, here.