Education | Communication in the Classroom
G203 | 5440 | Martyn Whittingham


INTRODUCTION

•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
teachers

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.

READINGS

REQUIRED

Readings packet (Mr.Copy – 10th and Dunn)
Plus readings as assigned

SCHEDULE

Date/Class/Readings and assignments
(due dates)
Monday 1/13  Introduction and orientation	

Wednesday 1/15 Community building
	
Monday 1/20 Martin Luther King Day –No class
	
Wednesday 1/22 Community building
	
Monday 1/27 Just community - principles, rights and responsibilities
A definition of communication: Pearson & Nelson
A survey of college students’ reactions to their k-12 teachers and
schools”: Morse
“The Educated Person”: Boyer
Attitudes and Beliefs

Wednesday 1/29	Systems theory / Theoretical premises
“Ecological impact on…”: Scott *“Principles I want to exemplify as a
teacher and some ways I will go about it” (3 pages minimum)*

Monday 2/3 Beliefs, attitudes and values Attitudes & modeling – an
overview
Empathy &Genuineness 	“Humanistic psychology” :Nakamura
“The facilitation of learning”: Unknown source
“Systems and influence” paper (3 pages)

Wednesday 2/5	Attitudes continued
Respect & Unconditional positive regard	“The interpersonal
relationship in the facilitation of learning”: Rogers

Monday 2/10 Applied cases on attitudes and beliefs - bullying “Aikido
in Action”: Unitarian Universalist World
“The terrible boy”: Juno
“Examining the social context…”: Espelage, Bosworth & Simon
“Why I tease – a bully’s own story”: Jones
*2 page reflection paper on these four readings

Wednesday 2/12	Power – understanding and using it (assertiveness and
fear of not being liked)“Philosophical approaches to Classroom
Management”: Nolan & Levin
“Students need challenge, not easy success”:  Clifford
Skills

Monday 2/17 Non-verbal communication
“Attending and Listening”: Hill & O’Brien

Wednesday 2/19	
Nonverbal communication
“Five reasons to stop saying good job”: Kohn

Monday 2/24 Verbal communication	
“The basics of communication”:  Morse & Ivey p.20-58

Wednesday 2/26	Verbal communication
	
Monday 3/3 Practicing/Demonstrating microskills
	
Wednesday 3/5 Practicing demonstrating microskills	

Monday 3/10 Group skills – leading classroom discussion and small
group dynamics
“Small group communication”: Cooper & Simmonds
“The teacher and group situations”: Locke & Ciechalski

Wednesday 3/12	Exam on attitudes & microskills*
	
Monday 3/17 and Wednesday 3/19	SPRING BREAK
Applications of skills and theory

Monday 3/24  Working with parents	“Resolving differences with
angry people”: Margolis
“Home-School Collaboration” readings: Various

Wednesday 3/26	Parent/teacher conference practice
*Summarize your approach to working with parents (3-4 pages)

Monday 3/31 Multiculturalism -Experiential workshop
“The meaning and significance of stereotypes in popular culture”: web
source
“White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack”: McIntosh
“Prejudice and Discrimination”: Weber

Wednesday 4/2	Leading classroom discussion and other helpful
responses to multicultural issues	
Read one or more article from set 1 and one or more  article from set
2
Set 1:
"The early years: Is my skin brown because I drink chocolate milk?”
Tatum
“Embracing a cross-racial dialogue: We were struggling for the
words”: Tatum
“Suggestions for using appropriate language”: Havens
Set 2:
"The Legal Duty To Protect Gay and Lesbian Students”: McFarland &
Dupuis
“As God intended”: Glenn
“What are we doing this for?”: Robinson & Ferfolja

Monday 4/7 To be announced 	
*Resistances paper (4 pages)
Wednesday 4/9	Fights, conflicts and dispute resolution
“Managing Conflicts of interest” – Johnson & Johnson
*Summarize the useful parts of this reading (3 pages minimum) then
identify the steps and practice them on someone you know.  Also find
web sources that show how to deal with students in conflict

Monday 4/14 Responding to trauma
*Report the results of the last assignment – 1 page reflection

Wednesday 4/16 Classroom management	
“Discipline”: Nakamura

Monday 4/21 Classroom management	
*First draft of final paper due

Wednesday 4/23 Grading
Cookies exercise*	

Monday 4/28 Communicating with peers and supervisors – building
consensus and managing conflict
*Final Paper –My philosophy of communication (5 pages)*

Wednesday 4/30	Party / Course evaluation /Closure
	
CAVEAT

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.

EXPECTATIONS OF WRITTEN WORK

•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: http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ewts/wts/

•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.

CRITICAL REFLECTION PAPERS AND ASSIGNMENTS


Paper/Assignment/Point value
Paper 1 “Principles I want to exemplify as a teacher and why” (3
pages) 10 points
Paper 2 “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. (3 pages minimum) 10
points
Paper 3 2 page reflection paper on the  readings given that day  10
points
EXAM Content of attitudes and skills readings plus class notes 50
points
Paper 4 Summarize your approach to working with parents based on the
readings assigned (3 pages). Cite articles 15 points
Practical 5 Parent/teacher Presentations: Grading 	
Parent/teacher conference grading
a.Evaluation by other student on performances*
b.Plus written reflection on strengths and weaknesses of presentation*
c.Plus written evaluation by “parent”
All this should be synthesized into one paper and the feedback sheet
stapled to the back 15 points
Paper 6 Resistances paper (3 pages minimum). 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 diversity 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. You may use
the articles in the readings packet or go outside the packet if using
a different topic 15 points
Paper 7 “Managing Conflicts of interest” – Johnson & Johnson
Summarize the useful parts of this reading (2-4 pages) – identify the
steps and practice them on someone you know
*Report the results of the last assignment – one page reflection 20
points

5 points
Final paper 8 Reflection on philosophy of communication – what is
important for me from this class (4-6 pages) 20 points
Pop quizes To be taken from the readings assigned  5 points
Class
Participation 25 points
	
Total points 200

EVALUATION

The grading scale for this class will be as follows.

A+ 98-100%  C+  78-79%
A  94-97%   C   74-77%
A- 90-93%   C-  70-73%
B+ 88-89%   D+  68-69%
B  84-87%   D   64-67%
B- 80-83%   D-  60-63%
F    >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.

CLASS ATTENDANCE POLICY
					
Additionally, regular class attendance is expected. More than two
unexcused absences in a semester will result in the course grade
being lessened by a half letter grade. Four absences will result in
the course grade being lessened by another half letter grade.  Every
other absence after this will result in a full letter grade being
deducted.  Therefore, for five unexcused absences, with a starting
grade of an “A”, the grade will drop to an A- at three, to a B+ at
four, and to a C+ at five.

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.
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.

IMPORTANT NOTES

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
requirements.

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: http://campuslife.indiana.edu/Code/index1.html
LOCATION OF MY OFFICE SPACE