Education | Communication in the Classroom
G203 | 5603 | Jennifer Bouwkamp
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 e-mail.
Because communication is pervasive and often taken for granted, it is
also easy to forget its importance. Communication consists of far
more than the words we use. Everything we do and say (or do not do
and say) communicates to others; therefore, being able to convey and
receive messages accurately is an important life skill.
Communication is a big subject, and there are many ways to study it.
In this course, we will explore communication from the point of view
of education. As future teachers, you will be responsible for
communicating with your students, their families, and colleagues and
supervisors, thus it is essential that you are able to understand and
interpret the verbal and nonverbal messages of others.
In this course, you will learn and actively practice specific
listening and communication skills. In addition, different aspects
of classroom communication will be covered, including: community-
building, classroom management, diversity, and conflict resolution.
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; and how
can teachers communicate effectively with students and parents?
We will pursue these topics and 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. This semester, you are encouraged to
inquire, participate, take risks, and take responsibility for your
own and others’ learning.
1.Students will help build and maintain a sense of community within
the class that allows for open expression of thoughts and feelings.
2.Students will better understand themselves as communicators by
reflecting on their perceptions and analyzing their methods of
3.Students will better understand messages of communication in the
classroom by practicing listening skills and attitudes.
4.Students will develop and enhance important teaching skills and
attitudes by reading, discussing, writing, and teaching a lesson to
5.Students will reflect upon classroom discussions, readings, and
personal experiences in a way that promotes personal and professional
Oncourse is an online educational environment where you will email me
or other students, monitor your grades for assignments, and receive
any important announcements regarding the class. Please become
familiar with how Oncourse works. This can be done by spending 20-30
minutes browsing the system. Oncourse is accessible via the Indiana
University homepage, under the “Popular Sites” drop-down menu. Log
in and be sure to indicate that you want to be “listed” for our
class. You may create a profile for yourself and/or submit a
picture, if you wish. I recommend that you enable the email
notification feature which will send a message to your regular IU
email account letting you know when you have Oncourse mail waiting
for you. Becoming comfortable with Oncourse is an extremely
important part of our course and keeps us organized and in contact
with one another. Please let me know if you have any trouble using
this system during the semester.
Much of the value of this course lies in what we communicate together
in class, therefore your presence and contributions are important.
Moreover, consistent attendance and punctuality demonstrate quality
teacher practices. For these reasons, regular attendance is expected
and will be taken at the beginning of each class. If you miss class,
it is your responsibility to reach me or another student to obtain
materials missed. You are allowed two absences without need for an
excuse. Each unexcused absence, after the first two, will result in
the course grade being lessened by a third: A- to B+, C to C-, etc.
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 me. If a student comes to
class late and misses roll call, it is the student’s responsibility
to approach me at the end of the class and ensure that s/he was not
marked absent. Failure to do this at the time will not be rectified
later. If you must leave class early, please notify me of this
before class starts.
Religious Holidays: Indiana University’s Religious Holy
Days/Holidays policy (www.indiana.edu/~deanfac/holidays.html)
outlines the procedures students should follow in requesting an
accommodation for missing exams or other academic exercises because
of a required religious observance. If you have a conflict with an
exam or assignment for this reason, please inform me early in the
semester after completing the form to request accommodations at
A crucial, but overlooked, area of communication is the ability to
clearly and effectively share ideas on paper, not just verbally. As
future teachers, you will constantly be communicating with
colleagues, students, and parents through letters, memos, email,
etc., in addition to conferences, lectures, group meetings, etc.
Therefore, for this course, the quality of your written work will be
extremely important. To help facilitate your efforts in this area,
please adhere to the following requirements when formatting your
papers and/or group project products:
•Double-spaced and in Times New Roman, black font, size 12.
•Paragraphs and margins must be standard (1” or 1.25”).
•Use of spell-check means there should be no spelling errors! Have
someone else read your paper to catch mistakes that do not show up on
spell-check (e.g., “form” instead of “from”).
•Use words correctly. Check with a dictionary if you are unsure.
•No contractions, such as, “don’t,” “can’t,” “wouldn’t,” etc.
Instead, write out, “do not,” “cannot,” “would not,” etc.
•Avoid slang (e.g., “She was so cool.”), conversational speech
(e.g., “I kinda liked that.), and colloquialisms (e.g., “It was real
good to find this out.”).
•Papers not meeting the above criteria will be heavily penalized.
For example, several spelling errors on a two-page paper may result
in a drop of two whole letter grades, or more.
•For additional help with writing, take advantage of the Writing
Tutorial Services (WTS) at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/home.html,
*Policy on Late Work:
All assignments must be turned in at the beginning of class on the
day they are due. Late work (i.e., work that is not submitted by the
beginning of class) will only be accepted within a 24-hour grace
period and will be reduced by a full letter grade, regardless of
reason for lateness. After the 24-hour grace period, late work will
NOT be accepted.
* Cell Phone/Pager Policy:
When class begins, please turn your cell phone and/or pager to the
off or mute position. Loud beeps, sounds, songs, and rings from
these devices are extremely disruptive to our educational
environment. I do understand that emergencies can occur, so if you
are expecting to be contacted during our class time, please advise me
of this before class, turn your volume to ‘low’ or vibrate, and seat
yourself near the exit of the room, so you can be excused without
disturbing the class. I appreciate your adherence to this policy.
Breakdown of Graded Assignments:
Identity collage 25
Written assignments (4 x 25 pts.)100
Midterm exam 50
Collaborative Inquiry and Teaching Project 50
In-class quizzes (6 x 25 pts.)150
Final exam (optional) 50 (optional)
Total Possible Points: 425
A+ = 97-100%
A = 94-96%
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%
Description of Graded Assignments:
As part of our community-building activities, you will be responsible
for designing a collage on a regular-sized posterboard, which
describes 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, but are not
limited to, in your collage are: family history, cultural background,
unique characteristics, accomplishments, career goals, and values.
If you choose to bring in additional items (e.g., favorite book),
which will not fit on your poster, you are welcome to do so. In
class, on January 21, you will present your collage (and additional
items if you have them) to the class. Your collage will be evaluated
on my perception of the effort you put forth in creating and
Throughout the semester, you will be asked to write four short papers
differing in style and topic. Specific questions/directions for each
paper are located under the “Schedule” tab on Oncourse. Each of the
four papers should follow the written work requirements previously
described. Due dates for the papers are listed in the course
schedule and below. As previously stated, papers are to be turned in
by the beginning of class on the due date listed.
1. Teacher Qualities paper – due January 26
2. Skills Self-Rating paper - due February 23
3. Working with Parents paper – due March 10
4. Resistances paper – due April 5
The midterm examination will be on March 1. Test questions will be
comprised of course reading material, course lecture, videos,
information obtained from guest lecturers and class discussions.
Exam format will be multiple-choice and short-answer items. We will
have an in-class review session on February 25. Please bring
questions with you to class that day. You will also be provided with
a review sheet to assist your studying.
*Collaborative Inquiry and Teaching Project:
All students will participate in a 4 member inquiry and teaching
team. Each team will research an education topic not covered in this
course and teach it to the class in a lesson lasting one class
period. You will find detailed information about this assignment
under the “Schedule” tab on Oncourse. I will inform you of your
group assignments later in the semester.
To promote critical reflection of course readings, you will be asked
to complete several 10-15 minute quizzes throughout the semester.
These quizzes will be unannounced and will help to ensure completion
and understanding of the course material. You will have 7 quizzes.
The lowest quiz grade will be dropped for final grade calculations.
You will not be able to make-up quizzes if you have an unexcused
The final examination will be on May 7 from 12:30-2:30pm. Questions
will be comprised of course reading material, course lecture, videos,
information obtained from guest lecturers, and material discussed in
class since the midterm exam. Exam format will be multiple-choice,
true-false, and short-answer items, and you will be provided with a
review sheet. There will not be an in-class review session for the
Date/Topic/Reading due/Assignment due
~Introduction and Community-Building~
M 1/12 Orientation and syllabus
W 1/14 Community-building
M 1/19 NO CLASS – MLK Day
W 1/21 Community-building
Morse & Barnett (1994)
~Theories, Attitudes and Beliefs~
M 1/26 Introduction to communication in education
Pearson & Nelson(1991)
Teacher Qualities paper
W 1/28 Empathy and genuineness
M 2/2 Respect and unconditional positive regard
Locke & Ciechalski (1995, ch.3)
W 2/4 Power and influence
Morse & Ivey (1996, ch.6)
~Basic Communication Skills~
M 2/9 Attending and questioning
Hill & O’Brien (1999)
W 2/11 Paraphrasing, reflection of content and feeling, and
reframingMorse & Ivey (1996, ch.4)
M 2/16 Feedback and self-disclosure
W 2/18 NO CLASS
M 2/23 Group skills and leading a classroom discussion
Locke & Ciechalski (1995, ch.6) Skills Self-Rating paper
W 2/25 Catch-up day and midterm review game
M 3/1 MIDTERM
~Applications of Concepts/Skills~
W 3/3 Working with parents
Bey & Turner (1996, ch.6)
M 3/8 Mock parent-teacher conferences
Kottler & Kottler (2000)
W 3/10 Classroom management and discipline
Nakamura (2000)Working with Parents paper
M 3/15 NO CLASS – SPRING BREAK
W 3/17 NO CLASS – SPRING BREAK
M 3/22 Race
W 3/24 Gender
Sadker, Sadker, & Long (1997)
M 3/29 Sexual orientation
Robinson & Ferfolja (2001)
W 3/31 Socioeconomic status and poverty
M 4/5 Mental and physical disabilities
W 4/7 NO CLASS –WORK ON YOUR PROJECTS!
M 4/12 Presentation – group 1
W 4/14 Pesentation – group 2
M 4/19 Presentation – group 3
W 4/21 Presentation – group 4
M 4/26 Presentation – group 5
W 4/28 Course evaluations; semester wrap-up party
Egri & Keteman (1996)
F 5/7 FINAL EXAM – 12:30-2:30pm
Students with Disabilities: Students with visual, hearing, physical,
and/or learning disabilities, which 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 from Disabled
Student Services (DSS). Please see the Handbook for Students with
Disabilities for eligibility requirements.
Academic Misconduct: Cheating, plagiarism, sexual harassment,
racial/ethnic/sexual orientation discrimination, 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 that s/he has been the victim of harassment, 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.
Required Readings: (available through IU Education Library e-
Nicolas, S.N. (1997). Community-building in the classroom: A
process. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education, and
Development, 35, 198-298.
Morse, P.S., & Barnett, M.F. (1994). A survey of college students’
reactions to their K-12 teachers and schools. Education, 115, 133-
Pearson, J., & Nelson, P.B. (1991). The nature of communication.
Understanding and sharing: An introduction to speech communication,
6th edition, pp. 4-22. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown Publishers.
Rogers, C.R. (1983). The interpersonal relationship in the
facilitation of learning. Freedom to learn, for the 80’s. pp. 119-
134. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.
Locke, D.C., & Ciechalski, J.C. (1995). Communication techniques for
teachers. Psychological techniques for teachers, pp.33-47.
Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Francis.
Morse, P.S., & Ivey, A.E. (1996). Seven influencing skills. Face to
face: Communication and conflict resolution in schools, pp. 52-59.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
Hill, C., & O’Brien, K.M. (1999). Attending and listening.
Facilitating exploration, insight, and action, pp. 81-95. Washington
DC: American Psychological Association.
Morse, P.S., & Ivey, A.E. (1996). Reflecting and the basic listening
sequence: Entering the world of the other. In Face to face:
Communication and conflict resolution in schools, pp. 32-43.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
Chandler, T.A. (1998). Use of reframing as a classroom strategy.
Education, 119, 365-369.
Kohn, A. (2001). Five reasons to stop saying, “good job!” Retrieved
Locke, D.C., & Ciechalski, J.C. (1995). The teacher and group
situations. Psychological techniques for teachers, pp. 97-110.
Washington, D.C.: Taylor & Francis.
Bey, T.M. & Turner, G.Y. (1996). Working with parents. Making school
a place of peace, pp. 93-97. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Kottler, J.A., & Kottler, E. (2000). Communicating with parents.
Counseling skills for teachers, pp. 90-109. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Corwin Press, Inc.
Nakamura, R.M. (2000). Discipline: Rules, consequences, and
controlling the physical environment. Healthy classroom management:
Motivation, communication, and discipline, pp. 238-269. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth Thomson Learning.
McIntosh, P. (2001). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible
knapsack. In V. Cyrus (Ed.), Experiencing race, class, and gender in
the United States, 3rd edition, pp. 209-213. Mountain View, CA:
Sadker, M., Sadker, D., & Long, L. (1997). Gender and educational
equality. In J. Banks, & C. McGee Banks (Eds.), Multicultural
education: Issues and perspectives, pp. 131-149. Boston: Allyn &
Robinson, K.H., & Ferfolja, T. (2001). “What are we doing this
for?”: Dealing with lesbian and gay issues in teacher education.
British Journal of Sociology of Education, 22.
Payne, R.K. (2003). A framework for understanding poverty, 3rd
edition. Highlands, TX: aha! Process, Inc.
Havens, M. (1992). Starting with yourself. Bridges to
accessibility: A primer for understanding persons with disabilities
in adventure curricula, pp. 59-63. Hamilton, PA: Kordall Hunt.
Egri, C.P., & Keleman, K.S. (1996). Breaking up is hard to do:
Building separation and transitions at the end of the course.
Journal of Management Education, 20, 358-369.