Education | Communication in the Classroom
G203 | 5862 | Martyn Whittingham


•You catch a child cheating and have to confront them

•A student’s parents call you to angrily demand a meeting to explain
why their child is doing so poorly in your class

•You have a student in your class who is bullying her classmates

•A student is killed in car crash and your class does not know how to
deal with it

•Another teacher warns you that the class you are about to teach is
full of “…a bunch of little animals…they have no respect”

This class will build the theoretical foundations and specific skills
to deal with situations such as these. It will take a three-step
approach of

1.Examining attitudes/beliefs/theories that underpin communication

2.Building skill sets related to communication at the interpersonal
and group level

3.Applying these to specific issues that may prove challenging to

The class will involve a mixture of personal reflection, observation,
written assignments, experiential learning exercises and other means
to enable students to perceive, select and risk new ways to enhance
their communication with students and others. At the end of this
class, students will have an understanding of the systems that
communication operates within and will be able to apply a range of
skills, attitudes and techniques to both general and specific
circumstances. Students will be encouraged to use this class for
their own personal growth to help them develop self-awareness,
orientation to growth and increased understanding and skills in
communicating with students, colleagues and other professionals.



Johnson, D.W. (2003). Reaching Out: Interpersonal Effectiveness and
Self-Actualization (8th Ed). Boston,
MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Plus readings and class handouts as assigned.  Go to and look under the
section title and instructor. Passwords will be given by the
instructor during the first week of class so you can access this site
to download material.  It is strongly suggested that when you enter
this site you download all articles and put them in a folder to
prevent problems associated with “night before” computer problems.


Date 	Class	Readings and assignments
(due dates)
Monday 9/1	Introduction and orientation 	

Wednesday 9/3
	Community building
	Chapter 2 Johnson – Self-disclosure (skip p.59-61)

Monday 9/8			Community building
	Chapter 3 Johnson – trust
Complete exercise 3.1

Wednesday 9/10	Just community - principles, rights and
Monday 9/15		

	Principles continued 	Chapter 11 Johnson – Ethics “Students
need challenge, not easy success”:  Clifford

Attitudes and Beliefs

Wednesday 9/17

	Systems theory / Theoretical premises
	Scott article
Principles paper due*

Monday 9/22		
		Attitudes & modeling – an overview
Empathy &Genuineness
Attitudes continued
Respect & Unconditional positive regard			
	“Humanistic psychology” :Nakamura

Wednesday 9/24	Teacher Expectation –
“Stand and Deliver” video	

Monday 9/29		To be announced	


Wednesday 10/1	Non-verbal communication p.26-29 of Chapter 1 in
Chapter 6 Johnson

Monday 10/6	Non-verbal communication 	

Wednesday 10/8	
Verbal communication
“Attending and Listening”: Hill & O’Brien

Monday 10/13	Verbal communication	Chapter 5 Johnson

Wednesday 10/15	Verbal communication
Feedback article – Whittingham, Stockton & Morran
Johnson p.59-61

Monday 10/20	Practicing/Demonstrating microskills
Wednesday 10/22	Practicing /demonstrating microskills	

Monday 10/27	Group dynamics
Group skills – leading classroom discussion
“Small group communication”: Cooper & Simmonds
“The teacher and group situations”: Locke & Ciechalski

Wednesday 10/29	Exam preparation and review 	

Monday 11/3
Exam on attitudes & microskills*

Applications of skills and theory

Wednesday 11/5	Working with parents	
“Resolving differences with angry people”: Margolis
“Home-School Collaboration” readings: Various

Monday 11/10	Parent/teacher conference practice
*Summarize your approach to working with parents (2-4 pages)

Wednesday 11/12	Multiculturalism -Experiential workshop *Report on
parent-teacher conference – strengths and areas to improve

Monday 11/17	Leading classroom discussion and other helpful
responses to multicultural issues
“Starting Small” video 	 Chapter 10 Johnson

Wednesday 11/19	Responding to trauma 	*Resistances paper (2-4
pages) due

Monday 11/24	Fights, conflicts and dispute resolutionChapter 8

Wednesday 11/26	Thanksgiving  - no class 	

Monday 12/1	“Deviance” and “difficult kids” – classroom managemen
“Discipline”: Nakamura
Chapter 9 Johnson –  Anger, Stress  and Managing feelings
*First draft of final paper due

Wednesday 12/3	To be announced 	

Monday 12/8	
Communicating with peers and supervisors – building consensus and
managing conflict
*Final Paper – reflection on philosophy of communication – what is
important for me from this class (4-6 pages)*

Wednesday 12/10	Party / Course evaluation /Closure

This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the
instructor or student input.
In particular, there is a strong likelihood that several days may be
switched to ensure that guest lecturers and/or panels can have their
schedules accommodated. Your flexibility is appreciated.


•All papers should be double-spaced and in twelve font

•Presented on white paper

•Use black font only

•Use regular (8 ½ x 11 inch) paper

•Paragraphs and margins must be standard (1 inch or 1 ¼ inch)

•Use of spell check means that there should be no spelling mistakes!*

•Also, have someone read through it and check for any mistakes
that “slip through the net” – e.g., “form” instead of  “from”, that
do not show up on the spell check.

•Use words correctly.  If you are not sure that the word you are
using is correct, check with your dictionary

•Do not use contractions such as don’t, can’t, wouldn’t etc. Use do
not, cannot, would not, etc.

•Avoid slang, conversational speech and colloquialisms. Examples of
this are, “It was real good to find this out” (colloquial), “She was
so cool” (slang) and “I kinda liked that” (conversational). For more
information on this topic, please refer to the writing center at IU
at this web address:

•Papers not meeting the above criteria will be heavily penalized. For
example, several spelling mistakes on a two-page paper may result in
a drop of two whole letter grades or more.


Should be between two to four pages unless otherwise stated. They
should be referenced as appropriate using APA style. For a “cheat
sheet” on this, check IU library web page and follow the links.

Paper	Assignment 	Point value

Paper 1	“Principles I want in my classroom / to exemplify as a
teacher and why” (2-4 pages)	20 points

Paper 2	“Systems and influence” paper (2-4 pages)
“Systems and influence” paper – where I get my beliefs from – rating
of different impact of people, events regarding a belief, value or
way of being. Rate relative influence. (2-4 pages)	15 points

Pop quiz 2	Pop quiz on readings (not necessarily in this time
slot/sequence)	5 points
Content of attitudes and skills readings plus class notes	50

Paper 4	Summarize your approach to working with parents based on the
readings assigned (2-4 pages). Cite articles	15 points
Practical 	Parent/teacher Presentations: Grading 	
Parent/teacher conference grading

a.	Evaluation by other student on performances*
b.	Plus written reflection on strengths and weaknesses of
c.	Plus written evaluation by “parent”	20 points

Paper 5	Resistances paper (2-4 pages). Using the readings from this
section as well as monitoring your own reactions in class and outside
of it, describe what your struggles are with respect to the topic of
multiculturalism and why. Provide a list of five different ways you
might go about challenging yourself to move forward with these issues
in a way that helps you and others grow. Cite articles.	20 points

Paper 6 - Final paper	Reflection on philosophy of communication –
what is important for me from this class (5-6 pages)	30 points

Pop Quiz 2	Pop Quiz (not necessarily in this time slot/sequence)
	5 points
Participation		25 points
Total points	200


The grading scale for this class will be as follows.

A+ 	196-200 points total	98-100%	C+	156-159	78-79%
A	188-195	94-97%	C	148-155	74-77%
A-	180-187	90-93%	C-	140-147	70-73%
B+	176-179	88-89%	D+	136-139	68-69%
B	168-178	84-87%	D	128-135	64-67%
B-	160-167	80-83%	D-	120-127	60-63%
			F	>119	>59%

To help you with the process of completing these assignments, drafts
of some documents will be expected prior to the hand-in date of the
final document.
Grades will be given as number grades.  Late work should be addressed
by consulting with the instructor prior to the hand in date. The
instructor reserves the right to penalize late work up to a half
grade for every day overdue. Work not handed in at all will result in
a grade of zero.

Since G203 requires participation and practice in the classroom,
attendance is extremely important.  Class participation comprises 25
points. You are allowed two unexcused absences. After three absences,
five points are lost. For each absence after this, ten more points
are lost. The instructor reserves the right to continue to deduct
points beyond the 25 points allocated for participation for excessive

An excused absence for health reasons must be accompanied by a
doctor’s note.  Personal loss or bereavement is also grounds for an
excused absence in consultation with the instructor and in advance.
If a student shows up late to class and misses roll, then it is the
student’s responsibility to approach the instructor at the end of the
class and ensure that they have not been marked absent.  Failure to
do this at the time will not be rectified later.


Students with disabilities:  Students with physical, visual, learning
or other disabilities, which may require modification of curriculum,
instruction or assessment, should contact the instructor.  I wish to
fully include people with disabilities in this course.  Modifications
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

Academic misconduct:  Cheating, plagiarism or, sexual harassment or,
racial/ethnic discrimination or and slurs or any other form of
student misconduct that adversely affects the learning or safety of
other students will not be tolerated.  If any student becomes aware
of any of these activities then or feels they have been the victim of
the 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 to:


My cubicle/office is at the back, on the left hand side, adjacent to
room 4024.  See smiley face.