Classroom Practices in Teaching Oral Communication Skills
Ask any business professor in the field of higher education if they believe an essential part of their mission is to develop citizens who can learn, think critically and communicate, and all would agree. It is widely recognized that these skills are essential for preparing people for productive personal and professional lives in our complex, fast-changing society. Certainly all agree that business students should graduate from college with the ability to speak clearly and thoughtfully across a variety of situations, yet how to accomplish this is far from simple. If we were to ask business faculty to discuss oral communication skills as they relate to business students, we would elicit a wide range of responses as to exactly what it means and how to go about teaching these skills. Several questions come to mind:
1. What are the oral communication skills needed by business students?
2. How do we teach these skills?
3. What communication goals/standards exist for our students?
4. How are students evaluated against these standards?
There are a few institutions that offer degrees in Business Communication, or have a speech communication course that is required of all business majors. Students in these institutions are taught oral communication skills in stand alone courses that address communication issues in their own right. Increasingly, however, business professors are being asked to integrate oral communications into the traditional business disciplines (e.g., Accounting, Economics, etc.), so that students can practice their skills over the course of their four years and in a variety of settings. As communication issues become increasingly complex with new communication technologies and the cultural issues brought about by our global market, business professors are under pressure to stay on top of, and include these issues in their classrooms.
Overview of the Research Project
The research will examine the current practices of professors who are not experts in business communication for teaching oral communication skills to undergraduate business students. This research will be used to create a proposal for an integrated approach to teaching oral communication skills within an undergraduate business program.
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