sec 4 english oral tips

In an earlier post on Oral Spoken Interaction, you learnt about four conversation handles (or strategies) to discuss a topic — Circles, Clock, 5W1H and Key.

These help you to organise your thoughts and frame the discussion in a coherent manner. There are many other Brainstorming Models like this and in this post, we will be learning how to use the Circle of Viewpoints (CoV).

1. What is the Circle of Viewpoints?

It is essentially seeing an issue from multiple perspectives.

By exploring different viewpoints, you can understand others’ interests and concerns about a particular issue. This helps you to gain a more holistic view.

2. Identifying Multiple Viewpoints

Here are some examples of questions in which you can use CoV.

Example 1

“Home-based learning is more of a boon than a bane.”
Do you agree?

While you can certainly organise your answer based on reasons why you agree versus reasons why you disagree, using CoV opens up more perspectives and helps you see the situation from more than one stakeholder’s (party concerned) viewpoint.

You may instinctively think about your reasons for favouring home-based learning (HBL) as a student, but this issue definitely involves other people: (1) your parents, (2) your siblings, (3) your teachers, and (4) families who may not be well equipped with facilities for conducive HBL, among other groups of people.

Example 2

Do you think people are over-reliant on technology these days?

As a rule of thumb, whenever you see words/terms like “people” or “some (people)” [i.e. “Some people say…”], try to identify specific groups of people to whom the issue could apply.

With regard to this question, technology is so ubiquitous that it applies to almost everyone. Who can you think of that are frequent users of technology?

Some examples are:

(1) teenagers,

(2) influencers, and

(3) digital marketing personnel.

Being heavy users of IT, these groups of people run the risk of being addicted or over-using technology to their detriment. This then begs the other side of the issue —what are some groups of people who make more prudent use of technology or may be more controlled in their usage of technological devices?

Some examples include:

(1) IT personnel and

(2) entrepreneurs / innovators.

Because they are expert users of technology, they are not beholden to its limitations and are more adept at circumventing tech-related problems.

Of course, the former groups of people are not overly dependent on technology. Influencers, for instance, know that social media reach is not everything; they need to have something unique and attractive to offer. Over-reliance on technology is not sustainable if they do not have a pipeline of interesting fashion styles or must-eat places to keep their followers hooked.

Looking back at the four conversation handles covered earlier, which of them do you think you can use for the two questions above?

3. Applying Multiple Viewpoints to the Question

Now that you have seen how you can examine an issue from multiple points of view, let’s try to unpack a question using this strategy.

“Singaporeans no longer have time to exercise.”
How far do you agree with this statement?

(1) Break “Singaporeans” up into different groups of people, primarily those concerned with exercise:

  1. Students
  2. Working adults
  3. Families
  4. People with other preoccupations
  5. Fitness enthusiasts

(2) Identify reasons why some of these groups might or might not have time to exercise.

Three groups are shown as examples below.

Group (a): Students

Have time to exercise
– Scheduled PE lessons
– Those in Sports CCAs and even Uniformed Groups have opportunities for physical training
– Some would rather play soccer or basketball during recess (than stay in the classroom to do their work)

No time to exercise
– Return home late due to CCA or enrichment lessons
– Swamped with homework, with little time to rest, much less exercise
– Need to destress and so may turn to online streaming/binge-watching

Group (b): Working adults

Have time to exercise
– They schedule time to exercise at fitness classes during lunch hour, after work or during the weekends
– Exercise classes are gaining popularity as a way to destress, bond and get healthy

No time to exercise
– They are caught up with work (at times doing overtime)
– They are too tired and in need of rest, and exercise would seem too strenuous

Group (d): People with other preoccupations

Have time to exercise
– Largely no, unless they specially plan time for exercise amidst other commitments

No time to exercise
– Would rather indulge in professional development, hobbies and entertainment, with exercise low on priority
– [Give specific examples of such preoccupations]

(3) Based on these reasons you can think of, conclude whether you agree to a large or small extent.

In summary, we have learnt how to identify different stakeholders using the CoV strategy, and how you can apply it to questions where various groups of people/stakeholders are involved, thus opening up more perspectives.

Try using CoV to discuss the following question.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to build relationships.” How far do you agree with this statement?

Stay tuned for the next post for suggested discussion points and how you can use yet another conversation handle to discuss the question!

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