Last week, CNN pundit Hilary Rosen experienced what we have all experienced: backlash for being misunderstood. And the drama continues. After Rosen commented that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life, she received an explosion of negative comments on Twitter. Ann Romney created a Twitter account just to defend her duties as a hard-working, stay-at-home mom. Obama campaign officials furiously wrote in support of Ann Romney and distanced themselves from Rosen.
This latest debacle over a misconstrued comment shows how ill-trained even experienced communicators are.
To relieve Americans from this kind of drama, the Department of Education should make oral communication a requirement in public schools. These lessons should begin in Kindergarten and become full-fledged classes by middle school.
Currently, most public schools in the U.S. do not abide by the Department of Education’s mandate that students be well-versed in oral communication. At best, oral communication lessons are lumped into other subjects. These lessons are comprised only of presentations and graded without feedback or instruction.
Teachers do not need oral communication training because they are not required to teach oral communication. Teaching credential curriculum only includes teaching theories and methods on how to teach basic subjects, which does not include communications. The maximum education requirement is a bachelor’s degree for high school teachers in the subject that they are teaching. This poor quality of instruction has resulted in a proliferation of unclear remarks by even trained politicians.
These gaffes were especially prominent in the GOP primaries this year, and involved every politician. Santorum claimed Obama was trying to indoctrinate students with secular ideas by sending them to college. Romney told of his father’s bargain at a graveyard. Newt Gingrich promised to have regular flights to the moon by 2020.
Had the Department of Education implemented its requirement that all students have adequate oral communication classes, Ann Romney would not have misunderstood Hilary Rosen’s remarks about her. Rosen would have stated clearly that Ann’s lack of work outside the home prevents her from being a knowledgeable guide to Mitt’s policies on economics and women. Both women would have been able to express their ideas had they been taught from an early age how to do so. Such classes would be accessible to every American resident.
Overall, this program would make the U.S. more democratic. When students are taught to clearly express themselves, they become able to speak freely It would also create peace between individuals by preventing unnecessary conflict like the current argument between Ann Romney and Hilary Rosen.