Department of Communication

Oral Activities in the Classroom

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.

An element of performativity pervades all oral expression in the classroom, and turns learning into an active and full-body experience, rather than merely a cognitive activity. Oral activities like role-playing, panel discussions, debates, deliberations, and more employ drama as pedagogy and performance as a means and motivation to learn.


Here are a few types of oral activities that can be tailored for the purposes of different courses across disciplines. Most of these oral activities can be adapted for individual or group completion.

Case studies
Chapter/Article reviews and summaries
Demonstration lessons
Discussion questions and subsequent deliberations
Formal addresses
Individual/group presentations
Mock trials
Mock conferences
News casts
Oral exams/quizzes
Panel discussions
Poster presentations
PowerPoint presentations
Press conferences
Reporting of research findings
Role playing activities
Roundtable discussions
Sharing and pairing exercises

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