Possibilities and opportunities for oral expression in the classroom include much more than just individual podium speeches and group presentations. Low-stakes assignments (that are informal and assessed a small percentage of the final course grade) and high stakes assignments (that are formal and assessed a large percentage of the final course grade) engage students on a different pedagogical stage than writing and passive learning.
It is important to set the right tone for discussion in the classroom early on in the semester, and to establish a rapport with your students. Studies have shown that students who contribute to class conversations early on in the semester are much more likely to continue contributing to class discussions throughout the semester than those students who remain quiet during the initial few weeks of the term. Therefore, it is imperative to find ways to involve all students in the formative discussions of the course.
Deliberation is the collaborative process of discussing contested issues by considering various perspectives in order to form opinions and guide judgment. Effective deliberation incorporates sustained and appropriate modes of argumentation. Deliberative practices can take many forms—from discussions, to role-playing exercises, to formal debates. All of these activities lead to exploring differing perspectives and informing various decisions.
Oral examinations are a relatively unknown entity for most college instructors and students. Most testing remains of the multiple choice, short answer, or written essay varieties. While volumes abound on why and how to design and implement the above test types, very little material is available on oral examinations. However, for those educators willing to explore less heralded territory, oral examinations can offer a variety of benefits.