Education | Communication in the Classroom
G203 | 5873 | Wendi Tai

Syllabus Disclaimer:
As the instructor of this course, I reserve the right to make changes
to the syllabus as needed. I will inform you of any changes at the
earliest date possible, during class or via e-mail/Oncourse.

Course Description:
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? Is the message we would like to communicate the same
as the message received? The difficulty in answering these questions
is the extent to which communication pervades our lives. It is
difficult to imagine an activity more common, flexible, emotional,
intellectual, useful, creative, clear, or ambiguous than

This is obviously a vast subject. 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: 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 students and parents?

We will pursue these and other questions by means of discussion,
demonstration, practice, readings, observation, and written
reflection. In other words, you will find many ways to discover
communication in education. If this course is successful, many of the
ways you discover communication will be ways of your own creation.
Thus, you are encouraged to learn boldly, participate, risk, and take
responsibility for your own and other’s education.

Course Objectives:
You will help build and maintain a sense of community within the
class that allows for open expression of thoughts and feelings.
You will better understand messages of communication in the classroom
by becoming acquainted with certain listening skills and attitudes.
You will develop and enhance important teaching skills and attitudes
by actively participating in the learning process.
You will reflect upon readings, classroom discussions, activities and
projects, and in a manner that promotes personal and professional

Important Notes:
Students with Disabilities: Students with visual, hearing, physical,
and/or learning disabilities that may require modification of
curriculum, instruction, or assessment should contact me. 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
you become aware of any of these activities, or feel that you have
been the victim of sexual harassment, racial/ethnic discrimination,
or any other act of malicious intent, please contact me immediately.
In addition, you can contact and consult with Pam Freeman of the
Student Ethics Division, IU’s Racial Incidents Team, or the Gay,
Lesbian, and Bisexual Anti-Harassment Team.

E-mail and IU Network Access Required:
I will notify you of any updates and modifications to the syllabus
through e-mail and/or Oncourse. Furthermore, it would be extremely
helpful to have the e-mail address of at least one other colleague,

Course Readings:
A course packet is available at Collegiate Copies (next to
Bloomington Bagel on 3rd St.+ Jordan Ave). This is a required for the
course, as most of the readings are included in this packet.

Review of Influential Teachers (20 points):
Your first assignment will involve a brief (2 pages) paper that
summarizes those who have influenced you in your pathway towards
becoming an educator. Think as far back as elementary school, or as
recently as any previous college and post-secondary experience you
have had. Who were the teachers, instructors and professors who made
the most impact on your learning and your desire to become a
professional in the field of education? More importantly, what
factors about these people set them apart from others, and what
traits would you like to inherit from your experiences? This
assignment is due September 9, and you will present your paper to the
class. Papers will be graded on thought, content, and clarity of
ideas. Please refer to the section on Writing Assignments for
specific guidelines for papers.

Identity Collage (25 points):
You will be responsible for designing a collage on a poster board (at
least 18” x 24”) illustrating who you are as an individual and as a
future professional.  You may use photographs, magazine pictures,
quotes, etc., to design your collage.  Information that you may want
to include in your collage, but are not limited to: birthplace,
friends, family, unique characteristics, accomplishments, and career
goals.  In essence, this collage should be a reflection of you. Also,
you are welcome to bring in additional items (e.g., favorite book or
favorite instrument), which will not fit on your poster.  On
September 11, you will present your collage (and additional items if
you have them) to the class.  Collages will be graded on creativity,
appearance, and my perception of effort made by the student.

Facilitation Activity (50 points):
In an effort to increase your comfort and confidence in teaching
others, each of you will be responsible for helping me teach a
portion (approximately 15-20 minutes) of one class.  Prior to your
teaching day, you will receive instructions pertaining to your role
in the process.

Writing Assignments (80 points—4 assignments, 20 points per
For the purposes of promoting personal and professional growth, you
are required to submit writing assignments.  These documents should
reflect a critical analysis and synthesis of the required readings
and classroom discussions, as well as your overall experiences in the
class.  For each assignment, I will provide certain questions to
guide your responses.  Writing assignments are to be 4-5 pages (typed
and double-spaced, in 10 or 12-font Times New Roman, 1-inch margins,
on white 8.5”x11” paper with black ink).  They will be collected on
the dates highlighted on the course outline.  Also, to help ensure
quality writing, your first writing assignment must be reviewed by
the Writing Tutorial Services prior to submission. Failure to do so
will result in a full-grade penalty. Please include both the original
and final drafts when submitting your first assignment.

Writing assignments will be graded on the following criteria:
Understanding of the Material (30%): Papers should reflect critical
reflection and analysis of the course readings, class discussions,
and field experiences.  Take time to really think about how you are
communicating your ideas.
Clarity of Ideas (30%): Express your thoughts in a coherent manner.
Try reading your papers aloud to ensure they make sense.
Complete Response to All Questions (30%)
Spelling, Grammar, and Professionalism (10%): Your written work
should be formal and of high quality. The use of spell check means
that there should be no spelling mistakes! Have someone read through
your papers and check for any mistakes that spell check may have
missed (e.g., “form” instead “from”). Avoid using slang and
colloquialisms. Also, avoid using contractions (e.g., use “do not”
instead of “don’t”).

Response Journal (45 points):
For each of the readings assigned throughout the semester, you will
be responsible for writing a brief (1-2 paragraphs) response. Journal
entries will consist of the 3 most important points, issues or
thoughts you have obtained from each reading, and how these may help
you to become a professional. Furthermore, journal entries can also
include any questions you may have of your readings. The purpose of
the response journal is not only to ensure that your keep up with
your readings, but to also generate thoughts and ideas prior to each
class. Response journals will be collected at the dates indicated in
the course outline, and will be graded on comprehensiveness and
evidence of processing information. Journals can be handwritten or
typed. If handwritten, please keep journal entries in a separate
notebook; if typewritten, please submit entries stapled together.
Midterm Exam (80 points):
On October 21, there will be a test of your understanding of course
material.  Questions will take the form of short-answer, multiple
choice, and essay.  Please come prepared for the review game
scheduled on February 16.

Collaborative Teaching Project (100 points—80 for instructor
evaluation, 20 for peer evaluation):
All students will participate in a 3- or 4- member inquiry and
teaching team.  Each team will research a topic and teach it to the
class for the entire period.  Teams are responsible for contacting
and setting up an appointment with me to discuss their teaching plans
or emailing me their outlines at least 2 weeks prior to their
scheduled teaching date.  This outline should include the goals of
the lesson, an outline of your material (with specific activities
included), anticipated time of each activity, and a reference page
(minimum of 5 references).

Consider the following questions when developing your teaching
outline: How will we engage the class in the topic?  How will the
information taught be useful to the class in the future?  How will
students ask questions?  Remember, this project is not only about the
topic itself, but also the manner in which it is taught.

Additionally, on the day you teach, each group is required to provide
a resource packet (4-5 pages) for each student in the class,
including an outline, relevant handouts, and references for future
study. In other words, your packet should not only summarize your
teaching project but also direct your peers to other useful

Each group can choose from the following topics:
Creative teaching methods		
Conflict resolution	
Classroom management  	
Gender issues			
School violence
Community Resources		
Crisis management 	
Multicultural issues

(I am open to other topics as long as they are cleared with me in

Policy on Late Work:
All assignments will be collected at the beginning of class on the
due date.  Late work (i.e., work that is not submitted within 15
minutes of the start of class) will only be accepted within a 24-hour
grace period and will be reduced by a full-grade.  After the 24-hour
grace period, late work will NOT be accepted.

Extra Credit Opportunities:
Throughout the course of the semester, I will give several “pop
quizzes” at the beginning of class for extra credit. These quizzes
will consist of a few simple questions regarding the readings
assigned during that week. If you keep up with your readings and
maintain current response journal entries, these extra credit
opportunities should be “free points” to you.

As is apparent in the course title, this class is all about
communication.  Accordingly, much of the value of this course lies in
what we can communicate together in class.  With this in mind, you
will be allowed 2 absences (excused or unexcused) without penalty.
For each additional absence, you will lose 5 points from your final
grade unless you have a valid reason for your absence.  In addition,
you will be responsible for obtaining information and material
covered in class.

At the end of the semester, if you are at a borderline grade (e.g.,
at a B+ but close to an A-), I will “bump” you to the next grade if
you have a good record of attendance.

Required Assignments/Point Distribution:
Review of Influential Teachers 20 pts.
Identity Collage  25 pts.			
Facilitation Activity 50 pts.
Midterm Exam 80 pts.
Writing Assignments (20 pts x 4) 80 pts.
Response Journals 45 pts.
Collaborative Teaching Project 100 pts.
Total 400 pts.

Grading Scale:
A+ = 100%						
A   = 94-99%						
A-  = 90-93%						
B+ = 87-89%
B   = 84-86%
B-  = 80-83%
C+ = 77-79%
C   = 74-76%
C-  = 70-73%
D+ = 67-69%
D   = 64-66%
D-  = 60-63%


Sept. 2		
Introductions and Review of the Syllabus

Sept. 4		
Orientation and Community Building

Sept. 9		
Community Building
Assignment Due: Review of Influential Teachers

Sept. 11		Community Building
Assignment Due: Identity Collage

Sept. 16		
Community Building
Reading: Nicholas, Community-building in the Classroom: A process

Sept. 18		
Empathy, Genuineness, and Acceptance
Reading: Rogers, The interpersonal relationship in the facilitation
of learning

Sept. 23		
Empathy, Genuineness, and Acceptance
Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #1

Sept. 25		
Introduction to the Collaborative Teaching Project


Sept. 30		
Listening and Attending
Reading: Morse & Ivey, The basics of communication

Oct. 2	
Questioning and a Panel of Teachers
Reading: Morse & Ivey, Questioning skills and effective teaching
Assignment Due: Response Journals

Oct. 7		
Paraphrasing, Reflecting Feeling and Reflecting Content	
Reading: Morse & Ivey, Reflecting and the basic listening sequence:
Entering the              world of the other


Oct. 9		
Reading: Chandler, Use of reframing as a classroom strategy
Locke & Ciechalski, Communication techniques for teachers
Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #2

Oct. 14		
Feedback and Self-Disclosure
Reading: Johnson, Self-disclosure
Rogers, Reflection of feelings

Oct. 16		
Midterm Review Game
Oct. 21		
Midterm Exam


Oct. 23		
The Classroom as a Group
Reading: Locke & Ciechalski, The teacher and group situations

Oct. 28		
The Classroom as a Group
Reading: Cooper & Simmonds, Small group communication
Check-In: Collaborative Teaching Project
Assignment Due: Response Journals

Oct. 30		
Communicating with Parents
Reading: Kotler & Kotler, Communicating with parents
Nov. 4		
Parent-Teacher Conferences Role Plays

Nov. 6		
Collaborative Teaching Project
Nov. 11		
Collaborative Teaching Project
Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #3
Nov. 13		
Collaborative Teaching Project

Nov. 18		
Prejudice and Stereotypes
Reading: Ornstein & Sankowsky, Overcoming stereotyping and prejudice:
A framework and suggestions for learning
Nov. 20		
Prejudice and Stereotypes
Reading: Tatum, The early years: “Is my skin brown because I drink
chocolate milk?” or Tatum, Identity development in adolescence	

Nov. 25		

Nov. 27		

Dec. 2		
Prejudice and Stereotypes
Reading: Sadker, Sadker & Long, Gender and educational equality
Assignment Due: Response Journals

Dec. 4		
Collaborative Teaching Project

Collaborative Teaching Project

Dec. 11		
Wrapping Up
Reading: - Egri & Keleman, Breaking up is hard to do: Building
separation and
transitions at the end of the course
Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #4