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Communication Currents


Adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represents the first time that oral communication has been included in the curriculum requirements for K–12 education in many states. If done well, this change will provide important benefits to students. However, effective implementation will require collaboration among policymakers, educators, and experts in oral communication.

As educators work to strengthen primary and secondary education in the United States, many agree that schools need educational standards that are grounded in today’s needs and shared across states. The CCSS have emerged as a potential solution, and the majority of states have adopted these standards. The addition of oral communication to the primary and secondary curriculum is significant, as bountiful evidence points to oral communication as one of the most important domains of knowledge and skill students can master. Surveys of employers by organizations such as the National Association of College and Employers, surveys of corporate leaders by academic researchers, research on technical and engineering jobs funded by the National Science Foundation, prevalent advice by employment experts, and vast amounts of other evidence consistently place strength in oral communication among the most sought-after attributes in new hires.

The CCSS focus on two major areas of communication knowledge and skill:

* Comprehension and collaboration

* Presentation of knowledge and ideas.

The former helps students learn how to work with others in discussion and team settings. Comprehension and collaboration includes being prepared for discussion, interacting with civility, setting goals and deadlines in conversation, asking good questions and answering effectively, integrating and responding thoughtfully to diverse ideas, evaluating oral arguments, and developing other related skills.

The latter content area focuses on quality of oral presentations. Presentation of knowledge and ideas includes structuring information for best comprehension, having effective delivery style, making strategic use of presentational aids, adapting to different audiences and contexts, and more.

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Essay was based on a forum discussion about the Common Core, featuring commentary from Bob Taft, Susan Bodary, Steven Beebe, and Joseph Valenzano. The forum appeared in Communication Education, 64, 241-260.

Permission documentation is on file.


National Communication Association