Effective Verbal Communication – Content, Procedural and Control Talk
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Effective Verbal Communication – Content, Procedural and Control Talk

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The following slides contain instructional strategies both for students and for teachers, and indicate how they contribute to effective verbal communication about content.
As a teacher, when explaining ideas it helps:
• To offer organizing ideas in advance
• To relate new content to prior knowledge
• To organize and elaborate on new information
There are ways in which students can talk about content which may result in greater understanding of their own thinking, such as:
• Inquiry learning
• Cooperative learning
Content Talk by Teachers
Using Advance Organizers
Advance organizers are statements or ideas that give a concise overview of new material
They are used because they orient students’ attention to new ideas that are about to be learned, and assist in understanding and remembering new material.
Relating New Material to Prior Knowledge
This creates explicit connections of new ideas to students’ existing knowledge, which facilitates discussion of new material by making it more meaningful to students.
Content Talk by Teachers
Elaborating and Extending New Information
By explaining new ideas in full and complete terms the teacher can avoid ambiguities and misunderstandings about new ideas or concepts.
Organizing New Information
Providing and following a clear structure when explaining new material assists in understanding and remembering new material.
Content Talk by Students
Inquiry Learning
Inquiry Learning is when students pursue problems that they help to formulate for themselves.
This helps because to formulate and investigate a problem, students need to express clearly what they wish to find out.
Cooperative Learning
If students are to work in small groups to solve a common problem or task they will need to explain ideas and questions to fellow students clearly.
Procedural and Control Talk
In addition to communicating about content, teachers need to communicate procedures and expectations about appropriate classroom behavior.
Procedural talk and control talk matter are used in teaching simply because clear procedures and appropriate classroom behavior are necessary if students are to learn.
Note that the difference between procedural and content talk is arbitrary to some extent; in many situations one kind of talk serves the needs of the other kind.
Procedural and Control Talk
Strategy for Procedural Talk
• Creating and discussing procedures for daily routines
• Announcing transitions between activities
• Providing clear instructions and guidance for activities
• Reminding students periodically of procedures for completing a task
Strategy for Control Talk
• Creating and discussing classroom rules of appropriate behavior
• Clarifying problem ownership
• Listening actively and empathically
• Using I-messages. I-messages are short messages which assert the feelings of the person speaking. Usually in the form of one sentence beginning with the word "I".

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