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ERIC Number: EJ1035326
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1740-4622
Sold! The Elementary Classroom Auction as Learning Tool of Communication and Economics
Boyd, Josh; Boyd, Gina
Communication Teacher, v28 n4 p208-212 2014
An auction, though an economic tool, is essentially a performance dependent on communication (Smith, 1989). The auctioneer dictates the pace, asks for bids, and acknowledges responses; the enterprise is controlled by a voice (Boyce, 2001). Bidders must listen and respond strategically to the communication of the people around them. An auction provides opportunities for elementary school students to practice several key, age-appropriate communication competencies, including Common Core State Standards in speaking and listening. Clinton (1992) argued that communication competence in elementary school means that "children must not only analyze the listener and the referential task, but also analyze the message itself" (p. 57). The rapid pace of an auction requires students to pay attention to the interplay of these things in order to know what is being sold, how much the bid is, and how they can join the communication exchange among auctioneer and competing bidders. The auction also provides students with opportunities to follow "rules for taking turns … and participating in ritualized openings and closings" (Mehan, 1979, p. 169). An auction is about openings and closings and turn taking, perhaps in a more concentrated way than almost any other kind of communication event. Students also have to develop communication strategies for bidding that enable them to achieve their goals for the auction without getting stuck with items they do not want. In response to the call for communication scholars "to be inventive in developing ways to promote the importance of communication skills" in a K-12 context (Hall, Morreale, & Gaudino, 1999, pp. 147-148), this article explains how a communication-focused economics activity can bolster students' understanding of both communication and economics, with a focus on students keeping up with listening and then responding with appropriate turn taking in order to participate strategically in the auction so they can take home items that reward their class performance. The classroom auction serves as a capstone experience for a semester or year-long mini-economy. As part of this mini-economy, students apply for classroom jobs (completing resumes, references, and interviews), execute those jobs throughout the year, and receive weekly pay in the form of fake money. Another key part of preparation is finding items to put on the auction block. The students complete this task by sending out letters asking for donations from local businesses, parents' employers, local restaurants, and just about any other organization a student is willing to solicit. The next preparation for the auction is to help students understand the necessity of listening, turn taking, and communicating strategically in response to other students' bids. Students gain skills in listening, turn taking, and using communication (listening and bidding) strategically to achieve their desired outcomes. Winning bidders take home tangible evidence that they have succeeded at communicating about economics.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A