Education | COMMUNICATION IN THE CLASSROOM
G203 | 5613 | Wendi Tai
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 and Oncourse.
E-MAIL AND IU NETWORK ACCESS REQUIRED:
It is required that you check Oncourse regularly for updates to the
syllabus and course announcements. Class assignments and/or other
materials will also be made available on Oncourse. Furthermore, it is
recommended that you have the e-mail address (or phone number) of
another classmate. By doing so, you can contact this person if you
miss class, in order to obtain class notes.
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, take risks,
and take responsibility for your own and other’s education.
1. To help build and maintain a sense of community within the class
that allows for open expression of thoughts and feelings.
2. To better understand messages of communication in the classroom by
becoming acquainted with certain listening skills and attitudes.
3. To develop and enhance important teaching skills and attitudes by
actively participating in the learning process.
4. To reflect upon readings, classroom discussions, activities and
projects, and in a manner that promotes personal and professional
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 this 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, the Racial Incidents Team, or the Gay,
Lesbian, and Bisexual Anti-Harassment Team.
For more information on students with disabilities and academic
misconduct, go to the Division of Student Affairs website at:
Religious Holidays: Indiana University’s Religious Holy Days/Holidays
policy outlines the procedures students should follow in requesting
an accommodation for missing exams and assignments due to religious
observances. If you have a conflict with an exam or assignment for
this reason, please inform me as early in the semester as possible.
In addition, you are also required to complete the form necessary for
requesting accommodations, found at:
For more general information, go to:
There is no required text for this course. Rather, course readings
are available on ereserves (for you to print out), as well as on
reserve at the Education Library (for you to photocopy – ask at the
front circulation desk). Please refer to the projected course outline
for the sequence and references to these readings. You will be
responsible for obtaining all readings throughout the course of the
Review of Influential Teachers (20 points):
Your first assignment will involve a brief (1.5-2 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 January 20, 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 18in. x 24in.) 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 January
22, 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.
Writing Assignments (120 points - 4 assignments, 30 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 3-5 pages (typed
and double-spaced, in size 12 font Times New Roman, 1-inch margins,
on white 8.5in. x 11in. 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.
Writing assignments will be graded on the following criteria:
• Understanding of the Material: 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: Express your thoughts in a coherent manner. Try
reading your papers aloud to ensure they make sense, and that the
components of your papers flow well.
• Complete Response to All Questions: Be sure to provide responses to
all of the points indicated in each assignment’s guidelines and
• Spelling, Grammar, and Professionalism: 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 of “from”). Avoid using slang (e.g., "It was
such a cool experience"), conversational speech (e.g., “I kinda liked
that”) and colloquialisms (e.g., “It was real good to find this
out”). Take time to really think about how you are communicating your
ideas. Also, avoid using contractions (e.g., use “do not” instead
For additional help with your writing, take advantage of the Writing
Tutorial Services (WTS) at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/ or 855-
Midterm Examination (100 points):
On February 26, there will be a test of your understanding of course
material. Questions will take the form of multiple choice, short-
answer, and fill-in-the blank items. Please come prepared for the
review game scheduled on February 24.
Collaborative Teaching Project (100 points):
You will participate in a 4-member inquiry and teaching team. Each
team will research a topic and teach it to the class for a 1-hour
time period. As a team, you are responsible for contacting and
setting up an appointment with me to discuss your teaching plans or
emailing me proposed outlines at least 2 weeks prior to your
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 you 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. You will
receive more specific guidelines later in the semester.
Additionally, on the day you teach, each group is required to provide
a resource packet (at least 5 pages) for each student in the class
and the instructor, 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 resources.
Each group can choose from the following topics:
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues School Violence
Gender (sex role) issues
Creative teaching methods
(I am open to other topics – please come see me if you are interested
in something that is not mentioned.)
Peer Evaluations – Collaborative Teaching Project (15 points):
In addition to presenting your own project, you will be providing
feedback for other groups. In doing so, you will have some practice
in giving constructive responses to others. You will have specific
instructions and questions to guide your feedback, and you will do
this for all of the other groups presenting.
Group Evaluations – Collaborative Teaching Project (10 points):
You will also have the opportunity to provide feedback and
assessments for your own team members. As with the peer evaluations,
you will have specific guidelines to aid in generating your feedback.
Additionally, you will also be giving each team member a quantitative
assessment, contributing to the 10 points allotted for this
Quizzes (10 points + 10 bonus points):
Periodically throughout the semester, you will be given brief quizzes
at the beginning of class. These will consist of several simple
questions regarding the readings assigned to be read for that
particular day, and/or regarding material covered from the previous
class. Quiz dates will not be announced, and if you are absent or
late to class, you cannot make up any quizzes. If you keep up with
your course readings, these quizzes should be “free points” to you.
Furthermore, these quizzes will also serve as extra credit
opportunities. While your quiz grade at the end of the semester is
worth 10 points, you will be given enough quizzes to accumulate a
total of 20 points possible.
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 20% (2 full letter grades).
After the 24-hour grace period, late work will not be accepted, and
you will receive a zero for the assignment.
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. Moreover, consistent
attendance and punctuality demonstrate quality teach practices. With
this in mind, you will be allowed 1 absence without penalty. This
means that your first absence (regardless of the reason) will be
excused, and will not affect your grade in this class. For each
additional absence, you will lose 5 points from your final grade
unless you have a valid reason (with documentation) for your
absence. In addition, you will be responsible for obtaining
information and material covered in class.
You are strongly encouraged to actively participate in class, as
contributions are necessary and will enable you and the class
(including the instructor) to get the most out of this course. This
means that you should come to class prepared by having read and
completed assigned materials. Furthermore, participation also
includes asking questions, making comments, giving feedback,
reflecting aloud, and in essence, being active in the experience of
our class. By doing so, you will help to create and maintain an open
learning environment. You will expect the same from your future
REQUIRED ASSIGNMENTS/POINT DISTRIBUTION:
Review of Influential Teachers: 20 pts.
Identity Collage: 25 pts.
Midterm Exam: 100 pts.
Writing Assignments (30 x 4): 120 pts.
Collaborative Teaching Project: 100 pts.
CTP Peer Evaluations: 15 pts.
CTP Group Evaluations: 10 pts.
Quizzes: 10 pts. (+ 10 pts. bonus)
Total = 400 pts.
A+ = 98-100% C+ = 77-79% F = 0-59%
A = 94-97% C = 74-76%
A- = 90-93% C- = 70-73%
B+ = 87-89% D+ = 67-69%
B = 84-86% D = 64-66%
B- = 80-83% D- = 60-63%
As for your final grade, I will automatically round you up to the
next letter grade as long as you are within 0.5% (e.g., 93.5%, A- →
94%, A). If you are at a borderline grade (e.g., at a B+ but close to
an A-), I will round you up to the next grade if you have both of the
following: 1) you are within 0.25% from being rounded up (e.g.,
93.25%), and 2) a good record of attendance (i.e., no deductions to
your grade as a result of unexcused absences).
PROJECTED COURSE OUTLINE:
Jan. 13 Introductions and Review of the Syllabus
Jan. 15 Orientation and Community Building
Jan. 20 Community Building
**Assignment Due: Review of Influential Teachers
Jan. 22 Community Building
**Assignment Due: Identity Collage
Jan. 27 Community Building
Reading: (1) Nicholas, Community-building in the Classroom: A
Jan. 29 Empathy, Genuineness, and Acceptance
Reading: (2) Rogers, The interpersonal relationship in the
facilitation of learning
~ Basic Communication Skills ~
Feb. 3 Listening and Attending
Reading: (3*) Morse & Ivey, The basics of communication (chapter 2)
Feb. 5 Questioning Skills
Reading: (4*) Morse & Ivey, Questioning skills and effective teaching
**Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #1
Feb. 10 Paraphrasing, Reflecting Feeling and Reflecting
Reading: (5*) Morse & Ivey, Reflecting and the basic listening
sequence: Entering the world of the other (chapter 4)
~ Advanced Communication Skills ~
Feb. 12 Reframing
Reading: (6) Chandler, Use of reframing as a classroom strategy
(7) Rogers, Reflection of feelings
Feb. 17 Communication Micro-skills
Reading: (8) Locke & Ciechalski, Communication techniques for teachers
Feb. 19 Feedback and Self-Disclosure
Reading: (9) Johnson, Self-disclosure
**Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #2
Feb. 24 Midterm Review Game
Feb. 26 **Midterm Exam
Mar. 2 Video: "The First Year" (part 1)
Mar. 4 Video: "The First Year" (part 2)
~ Teacher Development ~
Mar. 9 The Classroom as a Group
Reading: (10) Locke & Ciechalski, The teacher and group situations
Mar. 11 The Classroom as a Group
Reading: (11) Cooper & Simmonds, Small group communication
Mar. 16 SPRING BREAK – NO CLASS
Mar. 18 SPRING BREAK – NO CLASS
Mar. 23 Video: "A Class Divided"
Mar. 25 Prejudice and Stereotypes
Reading: (12) Ornstein & Sankowsky, Overcoming stereotyping and
prejudice: A framework and suggestions for learning
Mar. 30 Prejudice and Stereotypes
Reading: (13*) Tatum, The early years: “Is my skin brown because I
drink chocolate milk?” (A) or Tatum, Identity development in
(A): for those interested in teaching early childhood/elementary
(B): for those interested in teaching middle/secondary school
Apr. 1 Communicating with Parents
Reading: (14) Kottler, Communicating with parents
**Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #3
Apr. 6 Parent-Teacher Conferences – Class Activity
Apr. 8 Parent-Teacher Conferences – Reflections
Apr. 13 Prejudice and Stereotypes
Reading: (15) Sadker, Sadker & Long, Gender and educational equality
**Assignment Due: Writing Assignment #4
Apr. 15 **Collaborative Teaching Project – Presentation 1
Apr. 20 **Collaborative Teaching Project – Presentation 2
Apr. 22 **Collaborative Teaching Project – Presentation 3
Apr. 27 **Collaborative Teaching Project – Presentation 4
Apr. 29 Wrapping Up
Reading: (16) Egri & Keleman, Breaking up is hard to do: Building
separation and transitions at the end of the course
NO FINAL EXAM—ENJOY YOUR BREAK!
*Readings are not on ereserves, but are available on reserve at the