Communication is said to be the most important skill of human survival because one needs it to maintain contact with the world. It is true that we communicate all the time, knowingly or unknowingly. Of course, oral communication is a two way process between the speaker and the receiver, involving the productive skill of speaking and the receptive skill of understanding (listening). Apart from the speaker and the receiver there are many elements involved in the process of communication. And all of them are equally important in communication.
i. A source
ii. Stimuli received from that source
iii. A receiver
iv. Sensory receptors
v. The receivers’ interpretation of and responses to the sensations
viii. Situation or context
Communication, generally, is described as a process. But it is a process of processes because it involves many processes e.g. receiving sensation, interpretation of the received sensation and responding to interpretations. Another important aspect of communication is the nonverbal behaviour. During communication, the gestures, facial expression and body movements naturally influence both the speaker and the receiver. And nonverbal behaviour does convey meaning along with the verbal message.
Pedagogical Implications of Oral Communication
Donn Byrne (ibid) discusses the pedagogical implications. For effective communication what he suggests is the need to develop the skills of speaking and listening as an integrated approach. Generally, in classroom much more time is given to develop the ability of students to speak and very less account is given to the skill of listening. Therefore poor understanding often generates nervousness among the students in real life situations. In order to cope up with that, the students need regular and frequent training through a programme of listening comprehension, which exposes them in the classroom to suitably varied models of natural speech from the earliest stages of the language course. So far as teaching of the speaking is concerned, the main goal in teaching the productive skill of speaking is that of oral fluency: the ability to express oneself intelligibly, reasonably accurately and without undue hesitation. By intelligibility Donn Byrne means being able to make the difference between essential sounds such as /i/ and /i:/, /e/ and /ae/and so on. The learners need an adequate mastery of grammar, vocabulary and phonology in order to accomplish an effective communication. But excessive stress on any of these may slow down progress in other area. So there should be balance. Along with grammar and vocabulary the learners need to focus on certain features such as difference between key sounds, weak forms, basic stress and intonation patterns in the area of reception as well as production. In short, it will be easy task to acquire language learning and fluency, if adequate attention is paid to all the three areas i.e. listening comprehension, oral production and interdependence of the oral skills in communication.