342RE: [americancomm] For You Kay and Others Too
- Feb 1, 2006
I believe a major problem today is that we attempt to be too informal and too accommodating in our society. We don’t take things and people as seriously as we should.
As a non-traditional undergrad, I was often the only one in the class who was “yes, sir/no ma’am” all the time. Even if they were younger than me (and in my early 30s, some of them were), that did NOT change. Even though I am a graduate student, vice-chair of my department’s alumni association, and lecturer to undergrad classes and may now be entitled to a follow a less formal level of conduct with faculty, I still by-and-large adhere to those some guidelines of conduct.
For me, such things are not negotiable.
If you want my honest opinion, I think you’re being too easy on your students. I’ve never questioned the right of a professor to “lay down the law” in their classes in any way they see fit. It’s THEIR class, not mine, they’re the ones who have studied in this field, and I volunteered to take their class.
I’d suggest you lay down the rules, and let them know that you’ll hold them responsible for their performance in the course. They need this course, so they’ll do what they have to, and by respecting you as the professor and knowledgeable expert in this class, they will benefit.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Myrene Magabo
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2006 2:31 AM
Subject: [americancomm] For You Kay and Others Too
I've attached my course curriculum for my Comm 101 Class. It's a bit long and with a 20% weight for the impromptu, our acting department chair expressed her apprehension about it.
I do not impose a course syllabus. At the first day of class, I present my proposed course syllabus and have my students approve it after they have reviewed it thoroughly. Except for the college policies, everything in my course syllabus is negotiable.
I guess, this participatory planning is a good strategy to avoid antagonism and also helps present a democractic system and an atmosphere of open communication.
In the process of our discussion about impromptu speaking, I would usually get asked this question: "What if you're asked of a topic to talk about which you know not a thing?" I would then asked my students to give me a topic to talk about, which basing from my background, I would not know about.
After I have demonstrated speaking on the difficult topics, I ask my students to identify what techniques I used in addressing the topic. "Oh, you simply went around the topic for 2 minutes and refer to things close or related to it." I would then say, yes! Precisely. Just say, something when asked to talk."
Then, from there, I begin my persuasive talk how one could benefit from the skills develop in the course. I also emphasized that for the impromptu drill, I do not grade a student based on superb performance. That, I grade them based on their efforts and progress. That, for most students highly encouraging.
I believe, Kay, that as Instructors, we must first of all establish the value of the course to our students that way, they can appreciate what we have to do in the classroom.
Participatory planning and high levels of motivation--empowering our sudents with a sense of responsibility much laid upon their shoulders works as a strategy.
A non-threatening environment is highly necessary to help our students have the courage to speak up and talk in front.
The above strategies helped me see how my students love and enjoy Public Speaking course. I hope, you'd find the ideas I shared with you of help in your teaching profession.
As to the introduction part, I let my students work as a pair and introduce each other's partner. This allows them to interact and at the same time, get baptized: stand up in front of the class and deliver a 2-minute introduction speech as a pair. The activity sounded a bit informal without them noticing the fact that they are already getting into the real thing.
After the our initial session, I try to gather written feedback from the class and usually, the comments are highly positive of the process.
For the next session, I let my student tell about their crossroad story. I give them some time to think and plan their 3-minute cross road story. But, I deliver first my own crossroad story.
The second session becomes another binding event. Everyone becomes more familiar and comfortable with each other. Then, I introduce the class to the narrative speech.
This term, I showed my class the film, "Big Fish" (a film about the passion of Edward Bloom for tall tales). This film depicts the importance of creativity in our human activity and provides insights of how we reconcile fiction with truth or facts. I find this film very touching and I believe, until I find another alternative, I will be using this film to spark the creativity in my students.
I could go a long way, Kay but I believe, in Public Speaking, we must see the heart, the soul and the spirit in every one of us. Once we are able to do so, the passion for Communication (written or oral) begins.
I hope, I had been of help.
I'll be glad to answer more questions if you have more to ask.
Kay Elyse <con7669@...> wrote:
To deal with that (not that it always works), I always start off with an
ungraded introduction speech that has a scenario which enables students to
introduce themselves but also encourages them to incorporate some humor or
creativity (I actually start off by doing it myself, with humor). I also
have the class move their chairs into a circle (believe it or not, that
activity seems to help a LOT because it forces them to interact with each
other for the first time). I follow the introductory speech with one
focusing on interpretive reading (or poems), which also helps ease them into
the formalities of public speaking. I'd be interested to hear what
techniques you use, Myrene. I'm not an easy teacher and so in spite of these
efforts, I always get students who say I intimidate them and/or don't "care"
about what they are experiencing (that's some students--usually not the more
mature and/or motivated ones, but the ones with an ax to grind or personal
problems of their own). I try to gradually build on the level of difficulty
and even include a group assignment which is actually pretty lightweight
around the midterm so that they can get a bit of a break when other classes
are pressuring them, but, as I'm sure you know, many students don't see the
forest for the trees and so it is only the last or next tree they focus on
and treat like the be-all and end-all, not the overall picture.
Sorry to go on and on, folks. I love teaching and wish I could interact more
with others who really care about it. I know I don't do everything right,
but I do think about things like "fear factor" Myrene brought up. I know my
colleagues often don't deal with the pyschology at all (and often my
superiors don't care much either, as long as they don't have to deal with
any problems that might arise). But then, I've been teaching at an
institution where students can make up tests as many times as they like, up
to the last week of the semester (and other easy stuff--and yeah, I know I'm
not a good fit!).
>From: Myrene Magabo
>Subject: Re: [americancomm] Hello. New Here.
>Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 18:37:53 -0800 (PST)
>I also teach public speaking. I believe that the number risk we face
>towards students' success is the "fear factor." It is crucial that we
>initiate a non-threatening environment/atmosphere in the classroom in order
>to get each one to talk in front. Yet, no matter how much we try, we will
>still find one or two students dropping the course out of fear of speaking
>before a group/audience.
> I realize that, it is this area that I must focus on to save one or two
>dropping out of the course.
> Myrene A. Magabo
> Adjunct Communication Arts Faculty
> Antelope Valley Community College
> Lancaster , California
>Kay Elyse wrote:
> I teach public speaking and have started to investigate some consulting
>opportunities, so I've come here to talk the talk, so-to-speak. I'm
>especially interested in finding out other members' involvement in
>communication/public speaking and what issues folks identify as important
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