Orals ain’t orals : the role of prepared oral presentations in the classroom and beyond. How do instruction and feedback practices guide delivery choices?

Irvine, Lesley Michelle (2012) Orals ain’t orals : the role of prepared oral presentations in the classroom and beyond. How do instruction and feedback practices guide delivery choices? Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Despite an ostensibly technology-driven society, the ability to communicate orally continues to feature as an essential ability for students at school and university, as it is for graduates in the workplace. Pedagogically, one rationale is that the need to develop effective oral communication skills is tied to life-long learning which includes successful participation in future work-related tasks. One tangible way that educators have assessed proficiency in the area of communication is through prepared oral presentations. While much of the literature uses the terms 'oral communication' and 'oral presentation' interchangeably, some writers question the role more formal presentations play in the overall development of oral communication skills. However, such formal speaking tasks continue to be a recognised assessment practice in both the secondary school and academy, and, therefore, worthy of further investigation.

Adding to the discussion, this thesis explores the knowledge and skills students bring into the academy from previous educational experiences. It examines some of the teaching and assessment methods used in secondary schools to develop oral communication skills through the use of formal oral presentations. Specifically, it investigates criterion-referenced assessment sheets and how these tools are used as a form of instruction, as well as their role and effectiveness in the evaluation of student ability. The focus is on the student's perspective and includes 12 semi-structured interviews with school students. The purpose of this thesis is to explore key thematics underpinning oral communication and to identify tensions between expectations and practice. While acknowledging the breadth and depth of material available under the heading of 'communication theory', this study specifically draws on an expanded view of the rhetorical tradition to fully interrogate the assumptions supporting the practice of assessing oral presentations. Finally, this thesis recommends reconnecting with an updated understanding of rhetoric as a way of assisting in the development of expressive, articulate and discerning communicators.

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ID Code: 52836
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Clare, Jillian & McCarthy, Patsy
Keywords: oral presentation, rhetoric, communication, instruction, assessment, public speaking, lecturettes
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Jul 2012 05:53
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:12

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