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A conversational speech model, such as the one developed at NTID*, may be used as a guide when assessing conversations. The model visually illustrates the salient features of a conversation and how they impact each other. A screening assessment should evaluate a student's ability across all four components. If problems are detected, a more intensive assessment can be conducted that focuses on specific aspects of a single component.

Students can use the conversational model as a guide to self-awareness and goal-setting through conversations with various partners: peers, faculty and hearing students. A conversational log may be used to keep track of variations in conversational success based on varied partners, situations, and contexts.

conversational speech model diagram

Interactive Skills, the "We" Component

This refers to interactive skills and procedures. Both partners share the responsibility of moving a conversation forward.

Conversational Frame

These are the series of events that typically take place in a conversation. Problems may be observed anywhere along the sequence. For example, a student may have problems expanding a topic. The conversation frame is surrounded by three dynamic components that cause the conversation to flow or falter.

Analysis of Context, the "You" Component

This refers to the context of the interaction. It includes elements of the situation and the partner that students must consider in order to have an effective conversation. This component guides students in making language modifications based on culture, gender, ethnicity and social context.

Communication Skills, the "Me" Component

This refers to the communication skills that students bring to a conversation. Students must have self-knowledge before they decide how to alter their communication style for a particular partner or context.

*Gustafson, Marianne S. and Dobkowski, Karen G. "Improving Your Conversations: A Course for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Young Adults." The Volta Review, Volume 97, pp. 53-67, Winter, 1995.