Education | Communication in the Classroom
G203 | 5611-5615 | Anna Stanley

Course Description:
Communication consists of far more than the words we use.  Everything
we do and say (or don't do and say) communicates to others;
therefore, understanding and purposefully using communication to
convey and receive messages is an important life tool.  This course
has been designed to explore the facets of communication and to
examine how to effectively communicate.  It aims to increase students
awareness of communicating in multiple and diverse environments, and
specifically, in the classroom.  As future teachers, students will be
responsible for communicating with students, other teachers and
professionals, and students' family members, thus it is essential
that they are able to understand and interpret what is being
communicated by others.
This course will begin by looking at theories of communication and
examining the messages each of us sends at different levels.  It will
encourage the students to become more aware of their perceptions -
enabling them to decipher the messages they are sending as well as
how they receive messages from others.  The course will then examine
various methods of communication, including both verbal and non-
verbal.  Students will learn and actively practice specific listening
and communication skills.  Different aspects of classroom
communication will be covered which include community building,
classroom management, teaching methods, and multicultural
communication.  Finally, this course will focus on how to address
difficult topics in a classroom setting.
All of these topics will be explored through readings, writings,
discussion, and experiential activities in the class.  In an
atmosphere of respect and encouragement, each class will employ a
variety of teaching methods to allow the student to experience
different methods of learning.  Each student is invited and
challenged to explore him/herself, empathize with others, question,
think, dream, envision, play, feel, act, and take responsibility for
his/her own and others' learning.

Required Textbook:
Johnson, D.W. (2003). Reaching Out. 8th Edition. Boston, MA; Allyn
and Bacon.

Course Objectives:
Through active participation in this course,
•	Students will help build and maintain a sense of community
within the class that allows for open expression of thoughts and

•	Students will better understand themselves as communicators
by reflecting on their perceptions and analyzing their methods of

•	Students will better understand messages of communication in
the classroom by practicing listening skills and attitudes.

•	Students will develop and enhance important teaching skills
and attitudes by reading, discussing, writing, and teaching a lesson
to the class.

•	Students will develop a philosophy of communication by
reflecting on communication theories, attitudes, and skills and
applying them to their experiences and future plans.

Course Expectations:
1) E-mail: An e-mail account is required for this course and should
be checked regularly, as important course information is sent from
your instructor.

2) Attendance: I value your presence and contribution in class.
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.  However, you will not receive credit nor will you
be able to make up points for in-class assignments and discussions
that you missed. You are allowed two absences without need for an
excuse.  Two classes means two classes-regardless of the reason-use
them sparingly.  With each additional absence, I reserve the right to
deduct points from your participation grade.  Excessive absences will
result in further deduction of the student's grade at the discretion
of the instructor.

3) Active Participation: The keyword here is ACTIVE!  This means
coming to class prepared by having read the completed assigned
materials so that you can question, comment, and reflect aloud.  This
will enable you and the rest of the class (including the instructor)
to get the most out of this course. Also, you can monitor your
participation by considering the following questions: Do I come to
class prepared by having read the assigned materials?  Do I offer my
thoughts and feelings during class discussions?  Have I helped to
create an open and safe learning environment?

4) Assignments: All assignments (except in-class work) are to be typed
and turned in to me or placed into my mailbox by no later than 5pm on
the date that it is due.  I expect the format of your typed work to
include double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font with one-inch
margins around the document.  Handwritten work will not be accepted.

5) Late Assignments: All assignments are due on the date posted.
Late assignments will be penalized 2pts for each day that they are

6) Course Concerns: Please communicate with me if you have any
concerns regarding the course, on particular topics that will be
covered, or about your progress throughout the semester.  I'm willing
to listen to your comments, constructive criticism, and suggestions.

Course Outline:
Date	Topic & Chapter (Tentative)

Week 1	Course Orientation & Communication Activities

Week 2	Community Building, Introductory Presentations Due

Week 3	Chapters 1 & 2: The Importance of Interpersonal Skills, Self-
Disclosure and Article Presentations Began

Week 4	Chapters 3 & 4: Developing and Maintaining Trust, Increasing
Your Communication Skills

Week 5	Chapters 5 & 6: Expressing Your feelings Verbally and

Week 6	In-class Film

Week 7	1st Case Study (Write-up) Due

Week 8	Chapter 7 & 8: Helpful Listening and Responding, Resolving
Interpersonal Conflicts

Week 9	In-class Film and Discussion

Week 10	Enjoy Spring Break!!!

Week 11	2nd Case Study (Videotape) Due

Week 12	Chapter 9 & 10: Anger, Stress, and Managing Feelings,
Building Relationships with Diverse Individuals

Week 13	Chapter 11: Ethics of Relationships

Week 14	Group Presentations of the Collaborative Lesson Due

Week 15	Group Presentations of the Collaborative Lesson (Continued)

Week 16	Final Paper Due
Review Course and Evaluation

Graded Assignments: 			Total Possible Points:
Introductory Presentation			10pts
Collaborative Lesson				15pts
2 Case Studies					20pts
Reflection Papers				11pts
Article Presentation				10pts
Quizzes and Class Participation		        14pts
Final						20pts
						100 pts= 100%

Grading Scale:
	A 	90-100%		D	60-69%	
	B  	80-89%		F  	0-59%	
	C  	70-79%

Assignment Descriptions:

•	Introductory Presentation:  As part of our community building
activities, you will be responsible for designing a mini-lesson,
which describes who you are as an individual and as a future
professional.  You have academic and creative freedom in the manner
in which you present this lesson.  I encourage you to make this
presentation as unique as you are.   The presenter is also encouraged
to make the session as interactive as possible.  Information that you
may want to include, but are not limited to, in your presentation:
family history, cultural background, unique characteristics,
accomplishments, career goals, and the teacher and individuals who
have had the greatest impact on you.  Essentially, upon the
conclusion of your presentation the class should be able to summarize-
who you are, how you were shaped into this being, who/what you strive
to become, and how you plan to make this happen.  You will have 10
minutes to present your lesson to the class.  Handouts and visual
aides are required.

•	Collaborative Lesson: Groups of 2-3 will be responsible to
research, develop, and present a 30-minute lesson.  These
presentations should provide us with practical information on how to
more effectively communicate in the classroom.  They are also
opportunities for you to experiment with your teaching style.  Be
creative!  Groups, presentation dates, and grading criteria will be
distributed in class.  Your group will choose the topic from the
following list:

o	Classroom management
o	Parent-teacher conferences
o	Peer mediation
o	Racial identity
o	Ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation
o	Group leadership
o	Social justice
o	Service learning
o	Teachers as change agents
o	Consulting with other professionals
o	Teacher self-awareness

Consider the following questions when developing your teaching
outline: How will we engage the class in the topic?  How will
students participate?  How will students ask questions? How will
students interact with one another? How will the information taught
be useful to the class in the future?  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, you are required to
provide a resource packet for each student in the class including an
outline, relevant handouts, and references for future study.  In sum,
your packet should not only summarize your teaching project but also
direct your peers to other useful resources.

•	2 Case Studies:
Case Study #1- You will do a comparative analysis on a film viewed in
class and one of the following films that you are to view on your own:
Dead Poets Society,
Stand and Deliver, or
Dangerous Minds
Analyze the techniques the teachers use to motivate the students and
manage the class.  Use your textbook, other research, and class
discussion to facilitate your analysis of the teacher’s in these
films.  Link the strategies in the movies to concepts discussed in
class.  Take on the role of critique describing the strengths and
weaknesses of the educators.  Finally, reflect on how the material is
applicable to the experiences you have had, how you want to manage
your class in the future, and any other reflective thoughts you have
about the videos.  This should not be a summary-a summary will not be
accepted.  The purpose of the paper is for you to deepen your
understanding by applying what you saw and read, by discussing,
critiquing, questioning, and expanding the ideas.  This assignment
should not exceed two pages.

Case Study #2-This activity will allow for you to put the information
that you have learned about communication to use.  I will provide you
with brief scenarios that you are to re-enact and expand upon. Feel
free to include your creative touch by displaying various verbal and
nonverbal communications. Each group will tape their scenario and
type out a transcript for the scene, which may be turned in as a
group project.  Individually, each member in the group is to write
out their thoughts regarding the activity, the different
communication skills and content that were displayed within the
scenario, how these actions affected the environment at that time,
what it was like to watch the video looking for the various
communication skills that have been discussed in class, and
suggestions for improvement and effective means of communication
based on your growing knowledge of communication. The video that you
create should not exceed 10 minutes, and the paper (excluding the
transcript) is to not exceed 2 pages in length, but should adhere to
the written work guidelines.

•	Reflection Papers and Quizzes:  This will be discussed in

•	Article Presentations:  In collaboration with a partner, you
are to research, develop, and present a 20-minute lesson.  I will be
grading according to how well you link the key points in the textbook
to peer-reviewed journal articles that detail how such concepts could
be used in the classroom.  Each pair presents on the day that their
chapter is covered in class.  I encourage those who have never
planned a lesson to become familiar with “The Madeline Hunter Model”
which denotes basic lesson presentation elements.  It can be found at  Additionally, on the
day that you present, please turn in a lesson outline, a copy of the
articles you used, and a copy of the handouts that you will give to
the students.  Beyond these standards, you have creative & academic
freedom in the manner in which you present.

•	Final:  Those who have attended every class and turned in all
assignments have the option of being exempt from this assignment.
For everyone else, you are required to write a final reflection paper
about the course.  This paper is to be 2-4 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, 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 G203 to your future as an educator?  What will you take
with you and apply to your own future classroom interactions? You may
address expectations of the course 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 G203?

**NOTE:  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.") Understand?

Syllabus Disclaimer:
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.

Important Notes:

Students with Disabilities: Students with visual, hearing, physical,
and/or learning disabilities, which may require modification of
curriculum, instruction, or assessment, should contact the instructor
as soon as possible.  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 through services from Disabled Student Services.  See
the Handbook for Students with Disabilities for eligibility

Writing Services: Producing quality written work is a significant
factor in college academics and your future lives as professionals.
I require that your first paper be taken to the Writing Tutorial
Services (WTS), before you turn it in to me.  After the initial
paper, if you feel that you need additional assistance with your
writing skills, please utilize Writing Tutorial Services (WTS) at Becoming a skilled writer
is a lifelong process—WTS can help to make sure that you are on the
right path.

Academic Misconduct: Cheating, plagiarism, sexual harassment,
racial/gender/sexual orientation discrimination, slurs, or any other
student misconduct that adversely affects the learning or safety of
others 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 they have been the victim of harassment, discrimination,
or any other act of malicious intent, please contact me.  For more
information about this topic, please see:

Classroom Civility Compact

Our primary commitment is to learn from the instructors, from each
other, from materials and from our work.  We acknowledge differences
amongst us in values, interests and experiences.  We will assume that
people are always doing the best they can, both to learn the material
and to behave in socially productive ways.  By sharing our views
openly, listening respectfully, and responding critically to ideas,
we will all learn.

We commit to:

1.	Follow conventions of good classroom manners;

2.	Learn the names of all our classmates, and use them in

3.	Listen respectfully to each other;

4.	Respond critically to ideas in the classroom;

5.	Refrain from personal insults, profanity and other

6.	Recognize and tolerate different levels of understanding of
complex social and cultural issues.

Instructor’s Copy

We commit to:

1.	Follow conventions of good classroom manners;

2.	Learn the names of all our classmates, and use them in

3.	Listen respectfully to each other;

4.	Respond critically to ideas in the classroom;

5.	Refrain from personal insults, profanity and other

6.	Recognize and tolerate different levels of understanding of
complex social and cultural issues.

Signed: _______________________________	Date: ________________________