Chloe Kennedy, GBP Student
Oral communication is an important part of Greater Boston Project and an important part of life after GBP. We were able to practice this skill by arguing for ideas such as the right to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act or trying to convince the government that they should standardize the rail size. Oral communication is important to succeed in informing and persuading people. With oral communication it is necessary to maintain a clear voice, good eye contact, and appropriate body posture. From CED’s to the more formal CAP, our oral communication is constantly being tested and strengthened. Throughout the year GBP has focused on improving our oral communication to, in the end, help us after high school. Recently, our skills were tested with the Shaping the Era presentations.
Before the presentations began we were broken up into small groups. In these groups we conducted in-depth research on one major issue of contention in Greater Boston from the antebellum era. With this issue we created a written proposal, explaining a solution to the problem. The proposal also outlined the issues that existed, the causes of the issues, possible solutions, and effects of the solutions. To be able to write this proposal, extensive research was necessary. We needed to be able to support our possible solutions with evidence. Writing a formal proposal was a very rewarding and interesting process and our group learned a lot.
After the proposal was written, we then created an eight to ten minute presentation. In this presentation we highlighted the main aspects of the proposal: the issue, possible solutions, a proposed solutions, and the benefits and drawbacks of the proposed solution. The formal presentation was where oral communication came into play. This learning goal was different in this project in that we were aiming to persuade, not just present. We were trying to convince the government during the antebellum time period to put our proposal into action. This meant that we had to give strong evidence and an even stronger argument to succeed.
Following the presentation there was a five minute question and answer period. This was another place where our oral communication skills were tested. It was necessary to field and answer the questions correctly, respectfully, and intelligently. After all questions were answered, each group presented what ended up actually occurring with their issue; the real, final solution. Additionally, when not presenting, every audience member was expected to develop questions to debate and improve the plans and solutions. Oral communication also applied to those asking the questions.
I liked this project because doing group presentations and proposing ideas with a question and answer period was fun and different from what we have done in class before. I also thought it was a great educational project because we learned how to research and find data to back our argument and to practice those important oral communication skills. (Source: Shaping the Era Project Document)
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