Students’ Oral Presentation and Improvements in Writing

What is the connection between students’ oral articulation of ideas and the improvement of their writing skills? Is it plausible to assume that there is any?

As an adjunct instructor, I have consistently assigned group presentations. Typically, I ask students to do two things: 1) provide a summary of the readings and 2) to critically engage the summary, pointing out an omission, an unconvincing aspect of the argument or a way the author ought to develop it further. I also ask my students to create a handout for their peers to follow as they present. So, some writing is required for the group presentations; often it becomes a reference point during the question and answer period after the presentation.

As a philosophy teacher, I have found that it is critical for students to have multiple opportunities to assume some kind of public authority over the material in order to engage it in a more intimate and rigorous way that facilitates their comprehension. Plus, having an audience for one’s ideas encourages students to use simple, unpretentious language to describe philosophical concepts. Presumably, this ought to impact their presentation of their ideas in papers. But I have no sense of how to correlate presentation assignments and its impact on writing.

As I develop the WI syllabus workshop, it dawned on me whether or group presentations and informal writing assignments designed to facilitate group discussion should perhaps be incorporated in WI syllabi as a good option for improving students writing. Thoughts?

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