Writing and Communication Center

Integrating Speaking

Both formal and informal speaking gives students an opportunity to shift their focus on, and preoccupation with, the "rightness" or "wrongness" of their ideas that can often direct or prescribe their writing. They can try out ideas through the freedom of movement, dialogic nature, and spontaneity that speaking engenders, which may, in turn, help open them up more in their writing. Such opportunities for speaking can, as a result, serve as pre-writing, as well as peer assessment, exercises.

Two such exercises, Pointing and Taking a Stand, are included in this section. Both exercises can be used to help illustrate the important connections and differences between speaking and writing. Most importantly, they encourage creativity and play among diverse voices and ideas, perhaps the most important pre-writing practice in which students can engage. The section entitled Finding a Voice in the Classroom gives suggestions for setting up an atmosphere of spontaneity, creativity, and collaboration in which speaking comes to feel less daunting.