BORDERLESS | Purposive Communication for 21st Century Learners

ONE of the general education courses that will be out next year is purposive communication.

When I was in college, communication courses were divided into Communication 1, Communication 2, and Communication 3.

Communication 1 focused on improving the grammar of the students while Communication 2 was a training in writing academic papers such as report, concept, position, and research paper.

Communication 3, on the other hand, is geared towards honing the skills of the students in oral communication.

Among the three Communication courses, my personal favorite is Communication 3 because I am more of speaker than a writer. The good thing is I can do both actually.

This academic year 2018-2019, there will be a whole new set of GE courses for college students, one of which is Purposive Communication.

According to Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order No. 20 series of 2013, Purposive Communication is writing, speaking and presenting to different audiences and for various purposes.

The 21st century learners should be trained not only in one skill. They should be able to showcase expertise in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. As a Communication Professor for nine years, I have observed that generally current students are poor in writing and speaking. When they are asked to write on a certain topic, they cannot elaborate their thoughts. When requested to deliver a speech or report in class, they cannot speak fluently.

In this new GE subject, they will be exposed to activities that will sharpen their skills. These activities are conversing intelligently on a subject of import, reporting on group work and or assignments, writing and delivering a formal speech, writing minutes of meetings and other similar documents, preparing a research or technical paper, and making an audio-visual or web-based presentation.  

I like these activities. These communication activities are done in real life. By the time the student graduates from college, he is ready to showcase his communication skills. This course is a package of all three previous GE courses which I took when I was in college.

Furthermore, in this particular course, the criteria for effective communication are discussed and used as the basis of peer evaluation of communication exercises in the class as well as for judging communication techniques used by public officials, educators, industry leaders, churches, and private individuals.

According to CMO No. 20, the purpose of these combined activities is to enable students to practice strategies of communication with a clear purpose and audience in mind, guided by the criteria of effective communication and the appropriate language.

 I always tell my students to bear in mind the purpose and audience when making any communication activities. In making a speech, the first step is asking yourself first your purpose. Why are you delivering this speech? Do you want to persuade the audience to believe in your ideas? Do you wish to inform your audience of a new gadget? You need to provide answers for these questions before proceeding to writing the speech.

Next, who will be your audience? What are their demographics? Are they mothers aged 20 to 30 years old? Are they students who are tech savvy? Are they politicians? You must know your audience because it is only this way you can tailor your speech for their group.

In purposive communication, audience and purpose are the two most important concepts a student must bear in mind.

At the end of the semester, the students are expected to be able to listen, comprehend, critique, and respond to live or recorded conversations, speak in public with confidence, explain extended texts in their own words using examples to bolster their explanation, write texts ranging from a simple report to a full length technical or research paper, and prepare an audio-visual or web-based presentation on an assigned topic.

For teachers of this course, there should be a variety of teaching methodology to be able to achieve these objectives. Simulated activities are suited in this kind of course. Students should also be exposed to experiential learning, in which, they will be requested to observe and perform tasks in real life situations.

I am excited to teach this course. I want to see confident students who can discuss matters well and can express themselves clearly and effectively. After all, a successful person is the one who communicates concretely, concisely, correctly, completely, and politely. ([email protected]/PN)


  1. This very informative. It gave me ideas on how to teach this subject for my students. Do you have an article on Business Correspondence? Thanks in advance!

  2. Good day Maam , do you have any module for this subject ? If so, can i request for a copy of it as part of my references? This is my first time to handle this subject . i hope to get an affirmative response from you. Thanks 🙂


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