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Development Table 47. Hypotheses about Development of Conversing Skills

(Oral to sentence)
Recognize and respect cues that indicate when it is appropriate to take a conversational turn.
Recognize interruptions, irrelevant responses, or other violations of conversational norms.
Be able to identify and describe the topic of a conversation and recognize topic shifts.
Distinguish among types of conversations and be able to identify who takes on roles appropriate to each (e.g., directed vs. free discussions).
Speak clearly and audibly and at a reasonable and understandable pace when taking a turn in a conversation.
Ask and answer questions or respond to previous speakers with relevant information.
(Sentence to short sustained response)
Recognize when a conversation has gone on a tangent.
Recognize when a participant has failed to understand a particular point in a conversation.
Identify and correctly interpret cues indicating what topics interest other participants.
Be able to summarize the gist of a conversation and describe the contributions of each participant.
Understand the idea of negotiating the topic of a conversation.
Distinguish among a variety of specific modes of conversation and discussion (e.g., casual conversation, informational discussion, collaborative discussion, lecture), for different purposes and be able to describe the purpose and explain the expectations for each mode.
Modify speaking patterns to maintain clarity and comprehensibility in different situations (one-on-one, small group, addressing larger group).
Produce responses that sustain and develop a topic over multiple turns.
Use questions and other conversational cues to help other participants stay on topic or to shift topic when necessary.
Take or relinquish the leading (topic-setting) role in a conversation or discussion when appropriate
(Longer sustained effort)
Recognize where a particular conversational turn falls in a hierarchy of goals and subgoals established for a particular conversation.
Recognize conflicts between participants about conversational goals and subgoals.
Model the goals and interests of conversational participants and interpret specific conversational contributions in terms of those specific goals.
Understand the concept of negotiating specific rules for turn-taking/conversational organization and be able to carry out a meta-conversation discussing how a specific conversation should be structured.
Master presentational techniques appropriate to specific modes of sustained spoken effort (such as eye contact, projection, and control of pace in a public presentation).
Produce responses that elaborate upon topics and subtopics as appropriate in an extended conversation or discussion.
Respond appropriately to cues from other participants to contribute to a sustained conversation with coherent series of specific goals and subgoals.
Respond to conflict between participants about conversational goals with appropriate repair and negotiation moves.
(Text to context)
Identify the specific genre or mode of interaction under which a conversation or other communicative event is operating.
Make appropriate inferences about the purpose, content, and goal of a specific communication by placing it in the context of the discourse form that it instantiates.
Be able to describe and follow formal conventions and rules for communication in a variety of modes, such as conventions for gaining the floor or closing debate in formal deliberations.
Demonstrate the ability to participate appropriately in a variety of different types of informal and formal modes of communication, including conversations, forums, discussions, and presentations, following the conventions appropriate to each, and demonstrating the ability to carry out the full range of rhetorical moves appropriate to each (such as rebuttal and modification of claims in debate.)
Advanced (Text and context to discourse)
Make appropriate inferences about the purpose and implications of a specific conversation or communication in the light of disciplinary and other specific institutional practices.
Be able to describe and differentiate the practices characteristic of particular discourse communities such as scientific disciplines and explain and formulate strategies for communication appropriate to such specific social contexts.
Demonstrate the ability to select appropriate modes of interaction, depending on context and purpose, including both formal and informal modes of presentation, and to coordinate many such interactions to achieve larger goals.

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