Education | Communication in the Classroom
F203 | 5228 | Elli Poelzer

Course Description:
"Excellence in education requires masterful communication" (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?  It is hard to imagine an activity more
common, flexible, emotional, intellectual, useful, creative, clear, or
ambiguous than communication.  This course has been designed to
increase your understanding and awareness of the facets of
communication, as well as how to communicate more effectively.

F203 aims to increase your awareness of communicating in multiple
environments, but specifically, in the classroom.  As teachers, you
will be responsible for communicating effectively with students,
family members, and other teachers and professionals.  In addition,
you will be required to understand and interpret what is being
communicated to you by all of these individuals.  Learning to do this
more effectively will be practical and empowering for your future
career as an educator.

We will pursue this understanding and awareness through discussion,
demonstration, practice, readings, observation, written reflection,
and examination. In other words, you will find many ways to discover
the facets of 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 and take
responsibility for your own and others' education.  This is ESSENTIAL
in this discussion-based course.

Course Goals/Objectives:
By actively participating in this course, you will, among other
1. acquire tools which will help you communicate more effectively.
2. think specifically about communication in the classroom
3. think about particular topics relevant to educational environments
Required Text/Materials:
·You must have an email account set up and in working order,
preferably an IU account.  This will be the best way for me to
communicate with you, as well as for you to reach me.
·Text:  Nakamura, R.M. (2000).  Healthy classroom management:
Motivation, communication, and discipline.  Australia: Wadsworth.
(should be at either TIS or IU Bookstore)
·Course reading packet (available at Collegiate Copies on 3rd St.,
near Mother Bear's Pizza)
·1 VHS videotape per collaborative inquiry group


1. Attendance:  Attendance in class is crucial to the success of the
class as a whole, as well as to what you gain from this course.  I
will take attendance at the beginning of each class; regular
attendance is expected!  Irregular attendance could affect your grade
because you may miss activities, quizzes, and other components of the
class.  You will NOT receive credit nor be able to make up points for
missed in-class assignments and activities.  It is your responsibility
to reach the instructor and obtain materials missed.  Punctuality to
class is a must!  I often will make announcements at the beginning of
class and if you're not there, you will miss important information.
In addition to these self-serving reasons, punctuality and good
attendance are qualities that you will be expected to exhibit as a
teacher someday.

2. Active 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).  The key word is ACTIVE!  You come
to class, prepared by having read and completed assignments; you
question, comment, and reflect aloud in the class discussion. Your
attendance, 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.  There will be in-class
activities, which will count as "participation points."  You will
need/expect the same participation from your students someday, so
engage and be active!!

3. Assignments:  ALL assignments (excluding in-class work) are to be
TYPED and turned in during the assigned class.
Format of typed of assignments: 11 or 12 font; either Times New Roman
(preferably), Arial, or Courier.  One-inch margins all the way around,
double-spaced unless stated otherwise.  Hand-written work will NOT be
accepted.  The grading criteria I will use to grade your papers is
included in the reading packet.  Use this to guide your writing!!

4. Late assignments:  All assignments are due on the date posted.
Late assignments will be penalized 5% beginning after class and for
each day thereafter, including the day you turn it in.  Example:
Paper was due on Monday in class, you turn it in on Thursday; 20% will
be taken off your grade for that assignment.  (Keep in mind that
missed in-class activities and reading reflection collections cannot
be made up.)


1. Identity Collage: 5 extra credit points!!  As part of our community
building activities, you are invited to create a collage (on any size
paper you choose), which describes who you are as an individual and as
a developing professional (e.g., future teacher).  You can use photos,
drawings, quotes, magazine cut-outs, etc. to design your collage.  You
may want to include the following, but are not limited to these:
family history, birthplace, hobbies, unique characteristics,
accomplishments, career goals, etc.  You will have the opportunity to
present your collage to the class.

2.  Important Teacher Qualities assignment:
There are two options for this assignment; choose one.  Be ready to
turn in this paper and share your experiences/thoughts during class
discussion on January 14.
a. 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 did something significant in your eyes.  Write 3-5
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?
b. Imagine that your colleagues are hosting your retirement party.
They have invited some of your former students to speak about your
influence on their lives.  Write a paper (no more than one page,
single-spaced) entitled "(your name): My Favorite Teacher," in which
you give a speech from a former student's point of view about you, as
a teacher.  Include characteristics that you want your students to
remember about you.  Think about your "mission statement" and goals as
a future educator.  What do you hope to hear former students saying
about you?

3.  In-Class Activities (5 points each):
There will be certain activities (e.g., group work, pop quizzes, etc.)
for which you can receive credit just by being in class and
participating.  This is a less arbitrary way to include a measure of
participation in your final grade.  Instead of judging whether I think
you participated "enough" (whatever that means), I will collect work
done in class and give points for that.  Obviously, you will not be
able to make up any points for activities in classes that you miss.

4.  Reading Reflections (RR) (6 required):
These are reactions to the readings, in which you reflect on how the
reading is applicable to the teaching you expect to do in the future,
how it relates to experiences you have had as either students or
instructors, and any other reflective thoughts you have about the
readings.  These should NOT be summaries of the articles; summaries
will NOT be accepted.  The purpose is for you to have an opportunity
to deepen your understanding by synthesizing what you know with what
you read and to, perhaps, discuss/critique/ question what the articles
say.  These are intended to help you think critically about the
articles and prepare you for class discussion.  These should be
one-half to one page (single-spaced is fine) in length and can be
narrative or bulleted points.

You have the freedom to choose which 6 reading reflections you turn
in.  I only require that, by the end of the semester, you have turned
in a total of 6 reading reflections.

5.  Reflection Papers (RP 1-3)
FOR VIDEOS:  We will have three in-class videos this semester.  For
each video, you are required to write a short (1-2 page,
double-spaced) video reflection paper and hand it in at the following
class meeting.  The purpose of this is for you to reflect on the film
and how you think the presented concepts can/will relate to the
classroom, your future classroom in particular.  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?  How might you apply what it discussed to your own classroom in
the future?  Did you agree with the concepts presented in the film?
These are to be reflections of your thoughts and opinions, NOT a
summary of the film.

6.  Mid-term Examination: You are required to take the mid-term
examination on February 20.  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.  Format will be discussed in class at a later

7.  Movie Analysis: see pages following syllabus for a detailed

8. Collaborative Inquiry and Teaching Project: see pages following
syllabus for a detailed description.

9. Final Exam: You are required to write a final reflection paper
about the course.  This paper is to be four to five full pages,
double-spaced (follow the assignment format provided previously).  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?
·How will/can you apply what you have learned in F203 to your future
as an educator?
·What will you take with you and apply to your own future classroom
interactions?  What expectations of the course did you have that were
or were not met and why?
·What fears do you have of becoming a teacher?  Were any of these
lessened/ eliminated because of what you learned in F203?
·What are your own communication strengths and weaknesses?  What
impact will they have on your future classrooms?
·How do you think your communication skills and the importance they
hold for you will change as you gain more classroom teaching

NOTE: What this is NOTà  This is not a chance for you to find every
good or bad thing to say about the class or me.  You will have a
chance to evaluate me and the structure of the course, but this is not
the place for it.  The final paper is a chance for you to evaluate and
reflect upon what you learned and how you can apply it to your future.
If you learned nothing, then tell me why, what you would have liked to
learn, and how you would have best learned those things.  BE

Do not think that superficial comments will get you a good grade on
this final paper.  I am 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."---and of
course you would elaborate further on each of those!) Get the picture?

DUE DATE FOR FINAL PAPER: no later than 5 p.m. on APRIL  24

Grading Formula

Collaborative Group 100 pts. 20%		
Final Paper 100 pts. 20%
Mid-term Exam 100 pts. 20%
Video analysis 80 pts. 16%
Reading Reflections (6) 30 pts. 6%
Reflection Papers (3) 45 pts. 9%
In-class Activities 30 pts. 6%
Import. Teacher Qualities 15 pts. 3%
Total Possible 500 pts. 100%

A+ 98-100%	
A  94-97%	
A- 90-93%	
B+ 88-89%	
B  84-87%	
B- 80-83%	
C+ 78-79%	
C  74-77%
C- 70-73%
D+ 68-69%
D 64-67%
D+ 60-63%
F >  59%
Identity collage is worth 5 extra credit points.
There will be an opportunity for 5 more extra credit points later in
the course.

Note:  If you prefer, you may turn in assignments with your student ID
number (or the last four digits of this number) instead of your name.
Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other sentence construction errors
will be considered in grades for reflection papers and final paper.  I
may mark errors on other assignments as well, but they will not figure
into the grade.  I see this to be of assistance to you as you continue
to improve your writing skills.

If you are concerned about your writing abilities, IU offers help in
this area.  Writing Tutorial Services has a web site that you can
check out for information and also will help students at their office.
The following link is to that web site:   (Writing Tutorial Services)

Course evaluations will be completed ON-LINE.  I will let you know
when they can be accessed at the following address:

Tentative Schedule of Readings/Assignments

Date / Topic / Assignment/Readings Due
Jan. 7	Orientation and Community Building	
Jan. 9	Community Building (continued)	Identity collages (EC); have
presentation topics prioritized!
Jan. 14	Community Building (continued)	P_________; T, 32-37; Identity
collages; Teacher Qualities assignment due
Jan. 16	Challenges Facing Teachers; GRE	P_________; T, 14
(bottom)--29; RR1 due
Jan. 23	Video: The First Year	
Jan. 28	Video: The First Year (cont.)	
Jan. 30	Communicative Skills T, ch. 7; P_______; RR2 and RP1 due
Feb. 4	Communicative Skills  (cont.)(cont.); RR 2 still accepted
Feb. 6	Non-Verbal Communication P_________ ; RR3 due
Feb. 11	Video: TBA	
Feb. 13	Person-first language and disabilities	P___________ ; T, page
22 & Appendix F; RR4 and RP2 due
Feb. 18	Review for Mid-Term Bring questions!
Feb. 20	Mid-Term Examination Good luck!
Feb. 25	Stereotypes P_____________ ; RR5 due
Feb. 27	Multicultural Issues P______________ ; RR6 due
Mar. 4	Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #1	
Explanation of Abbreviations: P = course reading packet pages; T =
Nakamura textbook pages/chapter; RR1-11 = reading reflections 1-11
(turn in 6 total!); RP1-3 = reflection papers over videos

Mar. 6	Mental Health Day TBA
Mar. 11	and Mar. 13à SPRING BREAK!!!! Have fun!!
Mar. 18	Home-School-Community Collaboration & Communication	
P___________; T, 39 (bottom)-52;  RR7 & Video Analysis due
Mar. 20	Parent-Teacher Communication/Conferences P ______________ ;
RR8 due
Mar. 25	Parent-Teacher Conferences (cont.)-activity!! (cont.); RR8
still accepted
Mar. 27	Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #2	
Apr. 1	School funding: Brokaw video Reading TBA; RR9 due
Apr. 3	School funding activity	
Apr. 8	Ability grouping, group communication P ____________; RR10 due
Apr. 10	Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #3	
Apr. 15	Movie: It's Elementary	
Apr. 17	Sexual Harassment P_________; RR11 &  RP3 due
Apr. 22	Collaborative Inquiry/Teaching Group #4	
Apr. 24	Wrap-up discussion; What is a school psychologist?!  And my

Explanation of Abbreviations: P = course reading packet pages; T =
Nakamura textbook pages/chapter; RR1-11 = reading reflections 1-11
(turn in 6 total!); RP1-3 = reflection papers over videos