Education | Communication in the Classroom
G203 | 5864 | Johanna Lantz

Syllabus Disclaimer: As the instructor of this course, I reserve the
right to make changes to the syllabus as needed to facilitate
instruction. I will inform students of any changes at the earliest
date possible in class, via email, or on Oncourse.

Required Reading

Morse, P.S. & Ivey, A.E. (1996). Face to Face: Communication and
Conflict Resolution in the Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

G203 Reading Packet—available at Collegiate Copies  (1434 E. 3rd

Course Description
Communication is an essential human activity that pervades every
aspect of living.  If you think about it, we spend most of our day
engaging in some form of communication. As such, learning to
effectively communicate and to understand the explicit and implicit
messages of others is an important endeavor.

Communication is a particularly important tool for teachers. Teachers
need to be able to not only impart academic knowledge, but must also
learn how to use communication to support the emotional, social, and
intellectual development of students from diverse backgrounds. They
must also learn to understand how communication is impacted by
ecological systems. In other words, styles of communication depend on
the context and are heavily influenced by cultural norms.

In this course, students will study counseling theories and
techniques for application to teaching. They learn methods of
building community in the classroom, and ways to encourage student
participation and respect for others. Students learn techniques and
attitudes of group dynamics and leadership. Other topics of
communication that will be covered include: conflict resolution,
active listening, and parent-teacher communication.

We will explore the topic of communication as it pertains to
education through a variety of means including reading, writing,
discussion and examination. In addition, active participation is a
crucial component of this course and students will be required to
apply many of the concepts learned in class through a variety of
experiential activities. Through an open and supportive environment,
students will be encouraged to pursue self-exploration, to take
risks, to empathize with fellow students, and to take responsibility
for his/her own and others’ learning.

Course Objectives

1.Students will learn about different contexts for communication from
an ecological systems perspective.

2.Students will learn basic communication skills that can be used in
virtually any communicative context.

3.Students will understand that all behavior is communication and
will learn how to interpret and manage challenging behaviors.

4.Students will learn to consider and understand the needs diverse

5.Students will learn how teachers communicate and collaborate with
other teachers, school administrators, professionals and with members
of their student’s family and community.

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.
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: http://campus

Course Assignments (550 points total)

My Ecological System (25 points): All of us live in an environmental
context that influences how we live and communicate. In order to get
to know each other better, each class member will create a visual
representation of his/her ecological system (according to
Bronfenbrenner’s model, which will be discussed in class). The format
of this presentation will be of your choosing but can include a
poster, an overhead, computer generated graphics, or a web page. More
explanation of this assignment will be given on the second class day,
September 3rd, and it will be due on Monday September 8th.

** Reaction Papers (25 points each): Research indicates that
associating information with one’s own experience and existing
knowledge facilitates learning and makes content more meaningful for
the learner. Therefore, you will complete 3 papers, 3-4 pages in
length. These papers will include 3 sections:

1.)In the first section, you will summarize the readings and video,
if applicable, for one class topic (e.g., classroom management). You
may write a reaction paper on a collaborative inquiry project topic
(other than your own). This first section should be brief and concise
and provide the main idea rather than an exhaustive summary.

2.)In the second section of the paper, you will relate what you have
read (or watched on the video) to a life experience, or connect it
with a concept you have learned previously.

3.)In the final section, you are to explain how you will use
information gained through the reading or video in your future role
as a teacher.

Due dates for these papers are as follows:
September 24th
October 13th
November 24th

Midterm Examination (100 points): On October 20th, there will be a
test on your understanding of course material. This test will include
information from readings, class lectures, and videos. Format for the
test will be discussed at a later date. There will be no surprises on
the test. We will review what will be on the test on October 15th and
a study guide will be provided.

Final Expanded Reaction Paper (100 points): On December 19th by 10
am, you will turn in a final reaction paper. This paper will expand
on a reaction paper you have turned in previously. This paper must
include an additional literature review citing at least 6 additional
references on the topic. A grading rubric and further details will be
provided at a later date.

Collaborative Inquiry and Teaching Project (150 points total): Groups
of 4-5 students will be responsible for researching a topic and
teaching it to the class. During the second week of class, I will
pass around a list of topics that are to be covered and you will sign
up to be part of a particular presentation group. Each group will
present for 50 minutes and provide 10-15 minutes at the end of class
for questions and class evaluations. Group members should share
equally presentation time and preparation responsibilities.

Although the information conveyed in your presentation is very
important, the methods used to teach the topic to the class should
also be a primary focus. Consider the following questions when
developing your presentation: How will you engage the class in the
topic? How will students participate? How will students ask
questions? How will students participate with one another? How will
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.
More information about this assignment will follow in a separate

Applied Skills Practice Assignments (80 points total)
This class is designed to teach skills that you will need to apply
once you become a teacher; therefore, we will spend class time
practicing the skills we are learning through readings, class
lectures and discussion, and videos. Assignments will be completed
primarily during class time in oral or written form. Occasionally
assignments may need to be finished at home and turned in the next
class meeting. Four applied skills practice days are planned with 20
points given each day for participation and completion of
assignments. Attendance on applied skills practice days is mandatory
to receive the maximum number of points. Those who are absent on
applied skills practice days without an official excuse (e.g.,
documentation of serious illness from health center) can only receive
a maximum of 10 points for completion of assignments.

Class Participation (20 points total)
Active participation is a requirement of this course. This means
participating in class discussions and in small work groups, as well
as coming to class prepared to discuss assigned readings.

Extra Credit (up to 10 points)
Opportunities for extra credit will be available throughout the

Course Policies and Expectations

1.) Attendance.  You will be allowed 3 unexcused absences. Any
absences after that will result in a deduction of 5 points per class
absence. Remember absences on applied skills practice days result in
large point deductions!

2.) Email. An email account is required for this course. Some
assignments may be turned in via email.

3.) Oncourse.  Information pertaining to the course will be posted on
Oncourse. This includes assignments and announcements. You must check
Oncourse regularly for updates and announcements.

**4.) Expectations of written work.  Written expression is an
important form of communication. All written work (except in-class
assignments) must meet the following requirements:

New Times Roman 12 pt or Arial 11 pt
White paper
1-inch margins
Include page numbers, name and section number of student, and title.
Spelling and grammar must be correct, so edit carefully. Deductions
could be taken for such errors.
Use of slang words should be avoided.

You are encouraged to seek help from Writing Tutorial Services. Call
855-6738 to set up an appointment. If the instructor feels that a
student requires this service, she will make the appropriate

5.) Late work.  Late work will be penalized 10% per day, including

6.) Grading Formula:

A	94-100%
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%
F	Below 60%

Planned Schedule of Course (Section 5865)
(Subject to change)

M 9/1	 Introduction  to course 		
W 9/3	Contexts of communication:
Ecological systems theory	Scott (1990) Ecological  Impact on
Human Development and Change	
M 9/8	Getting to know each other: Ecological systems
presentations 		My Ecological System presentation due
W 9/10	Multiple roles of teachers

The First Year Video	Kottler & Kottler  (2000) Chapters 1 &2

Morse & Barnett (1994) A Survey  of College Students’ Reactions to
Their K-12 Teachers and Schools	
M 9/15	The First Year (cont’d)		
W 9/17	Communication Theory	Rogers (1969) The Interpersonal
Relationship in the Facilitation of Learning

Cooper (1995) Classroom Communication	
M 9/22	Communication Skills: The Basic Listening Sequence	Morse
& Ivey (1996) Chapter 4

Locke & Ciechalski (1995) Communication Techniques for Teachers
	Applied skills practice day
W 9/24	Communication Skills: Attending, questioning, and influencing
	Morse & Ivey (1996) Chapters 1-3, 5, 6.

	Applied skills practice day

Reaction Paper 1 due
M 9/29	Communication Skills: Nonverbal Behavior	Mottet &
Richmond (2002) Student Nonverbal Communication and Its influence on
Teachers and Teaching

Richmond (2002) Teacher Nonverbal Immediacy: Uses and Outcomes	
W 10/1	Collaborative Inquiry Project—Communication Skills: Conflict
Resolution in Schools	Reading TBA	
M 10/6	Behavior as Communication: An Introduction to Functional
Behavioral Assessment 	Ryan, Halsey, Matthews (2003). Using
Functional Assessment to Promote Desirable Student Behavior in Schools
	Applied skills practice day
W 10/8	Classroom Management: Communication Strategies to Support
Positive Classroom Behavior	Walker, Shea, & Bauer (2004). Methods
of Increasing Behavior
Methods of Decreasing Behavior	
M 10/13	Classroom Management: Alternative Strategies	Nakamura
(2000). Discipline Styles and the Goals of Behavior
Rules, Consequences, and Controlling the Physical Environment
	Reaction Paper 2 due
W 10/15	Test Review		
M 10/20	Midterm Exam		
W 10/22	Multi-cultural Issues in Education: Race and SES
	Sheets (1996). Urban Classroom Conflict: Student-Teacher

Gougis (1986). The Effects of Prejudice and Stress on the Academic
Performance of Black-Americans
M 10/27	Multicultural Issues in Education: Strategies	Delpit
(1995). Education in a Multicultural Society: Our Future’s Greatest

Nieto (2000). Multicultural Education in Practice.	
W 10/29	Gender in Education
Guest Speaker: Brittany Pendry	Reading TBA	
M 11/3	GLBT Panel		
W 11/5	Collaborative Inquiry Project—Learning in Groups
	Readings TBA by group presenting	
M 11/10	Collaborative Inquiry Project—Strategies for Building a
Classroom Community that Supports All Learners 	Readings TBA by group
11/12	Collaborative Inquiry Project—Educating Students with
Disabilities in General Education Classrooms	Readings TBA by group
11/17	Teacher to Teacher Communication and Collaboration
	Hollingsworth (2001). We Need to Talk 	
11/19	Home/School Communication and Collaboration
	Gestwicki (2000). Informal Communication with Parents	
11/24	Circles of Support:
Guest Speaker: Kim Davis	Davis (2003) Who are we working for
anyway? (class handout)

Davis (2002) “I wake up for my dream!” (class handout)	Reaction
Paper 3 due
W 11/26	Thanksgiving Break—No Class		
M 12/1	Collaborative Inquiry Project—Communicating during Crisis

	Readings TBA by group presenting	
W 12/3	Parent- Teacher Conferences	Gestwicki (2000). Parent-
Teacher Conferences

Various handouts from Gestwicki and Quiroz et al. summaries	
M 12/8	Parent- Teacher Conferences 		Applied skills
practice day
W 12/10	Wrap up day and evaluations		
12/17			Final: Expanded Reaction Paper due