1 Moscow City University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2 National Research University, Moscow Institute of Electronics (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 10409-10413
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0963
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Speaking skills in the academic format are not easy for the students to master, especially in their first years. This training can be integrated into the curriculum during their first year: we start with an introductory lecture focusing on the basic requirements the speaking activity is to meet so that to make the message noticeable and outstanding against the background of competing messages.

With the exponentially growing information flow it is getting ever more challenging for the speaker to stand out, and advanced speaking skills may substantially facilitate the task.

Teaching speaking skills is based on the, first, on introducing P.G. Grice’s Maxims as a practical guide to successful communication, such as maxim of quantity (the message should convey the reasonable amount of information, not less or more), quality (the information must be reliable), the speaker should keep to the point and make him / herself clear, avoid ambiguity, etc.

As for the formal arrangement of the message, students are to practice structuring the talk, listing the number of points to be covered in the talk and then covering them one after one: first, I will focus on N, second, M so that the audience can easily follow the speaker’s train of thought.

Relying on hedges also stimulates listening as it invokes the desired response in the recipients, keeps them emotionally and intellectually involved - psychologists proved that any hedge works as a “provoking agent” for the human cognitive activity. Rhetoric questions also stimulate communication effecting the illusion of dialoque.

What makes the talk more involving is relating it to the time-place (chronotope, as M. Bakhtin called it), using such speaking techniques as mentioning the event the students are actually taking part in, or linking the current event to some similar one – e.g. when I was on my way to this convention I was passing by M and it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to… Mention some public figure involved in similar activity.

All these means to make the audience emotionally and intellectually involved are boosting students’ interest in the activity, help him / her feel relaxed and hedged, and consequently give some space to get better concentrated and focused on the message.

This training can be practiced in different learning contexts – students are asked to report their research findings in this format, or present their joint mono project, or present their home assignments. What makes teaching more entertaining is asking fellow students follow the report and critically analyze it in terms of the criteria which are specified before the report – this assignment increases students’ active time and promotes active learning.
Students' self-esteem, speaking skills, active learning, successful communication.