Education | Communications in the Classroom
F203 | 9507 | Ellisen M. Masters

Syllabus disclaimer: As the instructor of this course, I reserve the
right to make changes to the syllabus as needed.  I will inform
students of any changes at the earliest date possible in class or via

Important notes:
Students with visual, hearing, physical, and/or learning disabilities,
which may require modification of curriculum, instruction, or
assessment, should contact the instructor.  I wish to fully include
persons with disabilities in this course.  Modifications and
accommodations will be made after the student has presented
documentation indicating qualification for services from DSS (Disabled
Student Services).  See the Handbook for Students with Disabilities
for eligibility requirements.

Academic misconduct:
Cheating, plagiarism, sexual harassment, racial/ethnic discrimination
and slurs, or any other student misconduct that adversely affects the
learning or safety of other students will not be tolerated in my
classroom or on this campus. If any student becomes aware of any of
these activities, or feels they have been the victim of sexual
harassment, racial/ethnic discrimination, or any other act of
malicious intent, please contact me or Pam Freeman of the Student
Ethics Division, IU's Racial Incidents Team, or the Gay, Lesbian, and
Bisexual Anti-Harassment Team. For more information about this refer

Course Description:
"Excellence in education requires masterful communication: the ability
to listen and learn, to focus and confront, and to lead and influence
others" (Morse & Ivey, 1996, p. 8).  Because communication is
pervasive and easily taken for granted, it is also easy to forget its
importance. Think for a moment. When do we not communicate? Does
anyone else have to be present for communication? The difficulty in
answering these questions is the extent to which communication
pervades our lives. It is hard to imagine an activity more common,
flexible, emotional, intellectual, useful, creative, clear, or
ambiguous than communication.

There are many examples of communication, and many ways to study it.
In this course, we will study communication from the point of view of
education. Among the questions we will ask are: What is communication,
and what is education; how does communication contribute to learning;
what are the components and kinds of communication; how do they
function in classrooms and schools; what is the relationship between
communication and community; how does communication promote safety and
the resolution of conflict; how can teachers communicate effectively
with parents?

We will pursue these and other questions by means of discussion,
demonstration, practice, readings, observation, written reflection,
and examination. In other words, you will find many ways to discover
communication in education. If this course is successful, much of what
you learn and how you learn it will be of your own creation. Thus, you
are encouraged to participate, take risks in learning, and take
responsibility for your own and others' education.

Required Text/Materials:
You must have an IU email account set up and in working order.  This
will be the best way for me to communicate with you, as well as for
you to reach me.

Course reading packet (available at Collegiate Copies, 1434 E. 3rd
St., next to Mother Bear's Pizza) which contains various handouts and
the following readings:

Epstein, J. L., (1995).  School/family/community partnerships: Caring
for the children we share.  Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 701-712.

Kottler, J. A., & Kottler, E. (2000).  Counseling skills for teachers
(pp. 1-11, 85-110).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Locke, D.C., & Ciechalski, J.C. (1995).  Communication techniques for
teachers.  Psychological Techniques for Teachers, (pp. 33-47).
Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Francis.

Locke, D.C., & Ciechalski, J.C. (1995).  The teacher and group
situations. Psychological Techniques for Teachers, (pp. 97-114).
Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Francis.

Morse, P.S., (1994). A survey of college students' reactions to their
K-12 teachers and schools.  Education, 115, 133-136.

Morse, P. S., & Ivey, A. E. (1996).  Face to face: Communication and
conflict resolution in the schools, (pp. 11-60). Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press.

Renzetti, C. M., & Curran, D. J. (1992).  Schools and gender.  Women,
men, and society, (pp. 75-88).  Boston:  Allyn and Bacon.

Rogers, C. R., (1969).  The interpersonal relationship in the
facilitation of learning.  Freedom to learn, (pp. 102-127).  Columbus,
OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing.

Stein, N. (1995).  Sexual harassment in school: The public performance
of gendered violence.  Harvard Educational Review, 65, 145-162.

Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (1990).  Cross-cultural communication/counseling
styles.  Counseling the culturally different: Theory and practice (2nd
Ed.), (pp. 49-74).  New York: Wiley & Sons.


1.  Favorite Teacher assignment: After reading the Morse article,
think of a teacher from your K-12 experience that made a difference in
your life.  This teacher may have made you feel special, may have
helped you through a particularly difficult time, or had treated you
in a special way.  Write 2-3 paragraphs (no more than one page,
single-spaced) about this teacher.  What did they teach?  What was it
about this teacher that made him or her your favorite?  What personal
characteristics or qualities did they have that you valued?  Be ready
to share your experiences and thoughts during class discussion and
hand it the paper on September 5.

2.  Minor Assignments (M1, M2, etc.):
For videos: We will have three in-class videos this semester.  For
each video, you are required to write a short (a half to one page,
single-spaced) reflection paper and hand it in the following day in
class.  The purpose of this is for you to reflect on the film and how
you see the concepts relating to the classroom?  How did the video
affect you?  What did you think of it?  Was it important to you?  Was
it a waste of our time?  What about it, specifically, was good and/or
bad?  Did you agree with the concepts presented in the film?
For readings: For selected assigned readings, you must develop 3-4
discussion questions and bring them to class on the day we will
discuss the reading(s).  The purpose of developing questions is that
it requires you to reflect on the article and think critically about
the topic.  These are NOT questions for the instructor to answer in
front of the class!  These are questions that you address to the class
in order to facilitate and stimulate discussion.  The goal is to make
you think critically about the article and to prepare you for class
discussion.  The questions can be critiques of the reading itself and
questions that came to you as you read the article.  Please be as
specific as possible.  Your questions must be typed and turned in to
me at the end of the class on which they are due.

3.  Mid-term Examination: You are required to take the mid-term
examination on Tuesday, October 17th.  The questions for this exam
will cover course reading material, course lectures, videos, and/or
guest speaker(s).  It is possible that the exam will include some
questions generated by the class.

4. Collaborative Inquiry and Teaching: All students will participate
in a 4- or 5-member inquiry and teaching team.  Each team will
research a topic and present it to the class.  Topics should be
related to the central themes of the course, but may not simply
restate material that has been covered in the class (presentations
that do so will receive a lower grade).  Teams are responsible for
contacting and setting up an appointment with the instructor to
discuss their topic and outline/plans at least two weeks before their
scheduled presentation date.  Based on this discussion, the instructor
will provide feedback, which may require alteration of the
presentation.  Therefore, the earlier your group meets with the
instructor, the better.  The methods used to teach the topic to the
class should be a primary focus.  Consider the following questions
when developing your presentation outline: How will the class engage
in the topic?  How will students participate?  How will the students
ask questions?  How will students interact with one another?  How will
the material be useful to the class in the future?  Remember, this
project is not only about the topic itself, but also about the manner
in which it is taught.  The instructor will assign a grade to the
entire project.  This does not mean, however, that each group member
will receive the same grade.  Each group member will individually
grade other members of their team with regard to each member's
contributions to the project.  These student ratings will be reflected
in each individual's project grade along with the instructor's rating
of the project.  Following each presentation, each member of the group
must turn in an evaluation of for each member of their team as well as
for themselves, along with any necessary comments related to the
grade.  The instructor will keep these grades and comments
confidential.  If a student wished to contest a poor grade, the
instructor will type up the team's responses and share them with the
student, without revealing who wrote each comment.  This way no one
can decipher handwriting or know which student made which comment.
The grading procedure is included in order to ensure that students are
contributing as equally as possible to the preparation/presentation of
their topic.

Some suggested topics that relate well to communication are listed
below.  If your team thinks of other ideas, I am open to any topics
you clear with me ahead of time.

Discipline in the classroom
Multicultural issues
Classroom climates/environments
School Violence
Home-school-comm. Collaboration
Learning disabilities
Gender issues

5. Final Exam:  You are required to write a final reflection paper
about the course.  This paper is not to exceed four pages,
double-spaced.  The subject of this final paper is to reflect upon the
course as a whole, including lectures, activities, movies, projects,
guest lectures, etc.  What was most valuable?  What do you think is
the most important thing you learned from this course and why?
NOTE:  Do not think that superficial comments will get you a good
grade on this final paper.  I very serious about this alternative to a
final exam and expect you to be as well.
I am looking for specific examples, thoughts, feelings, organization,
depth of reflection, etc. (e.g., "I feel that the most helpful
activity was ____, because ____."  "I think I have gained a better
understanding of stereotyping and its effects because ____."  " I
didn't see how the topic of communication could relate to
cross-cultural issues.  But after reading _______  or doing ______, I
see how they are very much intertwined.") Get the picture?

6. Participation:  "Students do better as active, engaged learners
rather than playing the role of passive vessels waiting to be filled"
(Morse & Ivey, 1996, p. 3).  Your attendance and active class
involvement and participation will be valuable both for you and your
classmates as you learn about communication and how it relates to
education.  You can read chapter after chapter about communication
techniques, but until you actively engage and practice what you read
you will not master these skills.  Active participation is a must!
Much of the value of this course lies in what we can communicate
together in class and in the field.  Students who do not participate
in class (i.e., discussing the readings, practicing skills, etc.) will
have their participation grade lowered accordingly.  Attendance in
class is required.  You must contact the instructor IN ADVANCE of any
missed session.  Over 3 absences in this course will decrease your
overall grade by one-half letter grade; six absences will lower your
grade one entire letter grade.  You will need the same from your
students someday, so engage and be active!

Grading Formula
Collaborative Group  30%  60pts
Final Paper  25%  50pts
Mid-term Exam  20%  40pts
Favorite Teacher Paper  10%  20pts
M Assignments  10%  20pts
Participation  5%  10pts
Total Possible

C 74-77%
F> 59%

Note:  If you prefer, you may turn in assignments with your social
security number/student ID number instead of your name.  I will mark
grammar/spelling/ punctuation errors, but, unless they obstruct
meaning, I will not consider these errors when determining grades.  I
see this to be of assistance to you as you continue to improve your
writing skills.

Tentative Schedule of Readings/Assignments

DateTopicAssignment/Readings Due

Aug. 29  Orientation and Community Building

Aug. 31  Community Building (continued)

Sept. 5  Community Building (cont.)  Morse, 1994; Kottler & Kottler
(p. 1-11); Favorite Teacher assignment due

Sept. 7  Communicative Attitudes:  GRERogers, 1969; Locke & Ciechalski
(p. 33-47); M1 Due

Sept. 12  Movie: Lion's Den

Sept. 14  Communicative Skills  Morse & Ivey, pp. 11-31; Could you
just listen (poem); M2 Due

Sept. 19  Communicative Skills (cont.)  Morse & Ivey, pp. 32-60; M3

Sept. 21  Role playing activities/discussion

Sept. 26  Mental Health DayActivity related to topic

Sept. 28  Non-Verbal Communication; finish communicative skillsTBA

Oct. 3  Movie-Lion's Den  (finish)

Oct. 5  Person-first language M4-reflection of movie-Due

Oct. 10  Movie: Reality Therapy in the Classroom

Oct. 12  Review for Mid-Term  M5-reflection of movie-Due; review;
practice questions

Oct. 17  Mid-Term Examination

Oct. 19
Class activities; reading TBA; M6 Due

Oct. 24  Cross-Cultural Communication    Sue & Sue, pp. 49-68; M7 Due

Oct. 26  Parent/Teacher Communication  Handouts; K & K, pp. 90-110

Oct. 31  Guest lecture-Home/School/Community Collaboration  Epstein,
pp. 701-712; M8 Due

Nov. 2  Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #1

Nov. 7  Group Communication    Locke & Ciechalski, pp. 97-114; Kottler
& Kottler, pp. 85-88; M9 Due

Nov. 9  Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #2    Stein; M10 Due

Nov. 14  Sexual Harassment

Nov. 16  Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #3

Nov. 21  Gender issuesRenzetti & Curran, pp. 75-88;   M11 Due


Nov. 28  Movie: It's Elementary

Nov. 30  Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #4M12-reflection of

Dec. 5  Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #5

Dec. 7  Review/Course evaluations; discussion  Final paper due