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Transferable skills from oral classes

What sort of skills, other than the ability to communicate in spoken Italian, do you think you can develop in your Sophister conversation class? We think you can do good work in at least the following areas:

  1. communication
  2. Team work.
  3. Presentation skills
  4. Managing one's own learning

Why these skills? How can you measure your progress in these areas? In recent years, by going through a series of activities and by paying attention to related skills, we looked for some answers. A preliminary test/questionnaire was carried out, and the following ideas were developed by the Italian Language Assistant.

Among several skills which are believed to be of capital importance for a graduate, a research project has suggested that the most important four are Oral Communication, Time Management, Team Work and Presentation Skills. The same research project also explained that among the above mentioned skills, only Oral Communication and Presentation Skills seem to be the most highly developed through existing language courses.

The Oral Course aimed at developing all the skills listed above through a constant focus on the type of task carried on class after class. Particular attention was given to Oral Communication and Presentation Skills, also stressing the benefits from Team Work and Time Management, which are obvious and vital parts of an Oral Class. This is to say that for Junior Sophister and Senior Sophister Oral Classes, part of each session could be devoted to a discussion regarding the amount and type of work carried out, the skills involved and their positive and negative aspects, the benefit of focusing one's attention on one's method of work.

Students were asked to carry out various tasks, as a normal part of the course, such as presentations, debates, discussion groups, work planning and many others. Participants coped with:

  1. different sources for research and discussion topics;
  2. choice between formal and informal register and vocabulary;
  3. planning team work;
  4. time planning for presentations;

To measure their improvement, the students were asked to fill in questionnaires, to confirm the usefulness of the project or to create a constructive critique of it.

New areas to work on:

Oral presentations
Different types of conversation
Dossier preparation for degree examinations

Teamwork among teachers for the Junior Sophister year will try to ensure that there are definite linkage is between different parts of the language course during the second term.

Topic types:

Contemporary issues: young people at work, immigration, etc.;
Academic conversation on other subjects being studied;
Social problems.

Format types:

Debates;
Job interviews;
Surveys: what do students need?

Underlying skills being fostered:

Structured vocabulary building for self-confidence;
Using different types of language;
Using a language in different types of situation;
Group participation: how to get a word in.

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