An introductory public speaking course can be organized in a variety of ways, and the material in the text can be used in different ways by different teachers. As the teacher, you must decide how much emphasis to give each chapter and how early or late a particular chapter should be read by your students. Moreover, you will need to decide how to balance theory and principles with actual classroom practice in skills. You will need to determine how much time to devote to lectures, class discussions, activities, speeches, and other assignments. These decisions will be based on the number of students enrolled in your course, the number of class meetings, and the special needs of your students. With you and your needs in mind, then, we have put together some ideas and recommendations that you can use in preparing your public speaking course.
The instructor’s manual for Public Speaking in a Diverse Society is divided into eight parts. All 1100+ examination questions are published under separate cover and available in computerized format.
• Part 1 provides an overview of the course, including a sample syllabus, topic outlines and assignments for organizing the course based on either a semester or quarter system, and general tips and strategies for new teachers.
• Part 2 suggests ways to deal sensitively with cultural issues in this course. We provide activities for increasing cultural awareness, and we recommend strategies to help create a safe climate for discussing intercultural issues and concerns.
• Part 3 presents our philosophy of evaluating students’ oral performances along with a series of speech evaluation forms that you can use or modify for your own critiques of students’ presentations.
• Part 4 provides a detailed analysis of the student speeches presented in the videotape accompanying the text and in the book’s appendix.
• Part 5 is concerned with the evaluation of students and teachers. Included in this section is a discussion of how to write your own lecture-based examination questions for objective and essay testing, how to take the subjectivity out of grading, how to assign grades, and how to measure effective teaching. It also provides a reference list.
• Part 6 combines student-oriented learning objectives for each chapter in the text, extended outlines for each chapter, and a variety of in-class activities that encourage students to translate theory and research into practice. It also provides a list of questions to stimulate classroom interaction and interest, as well as an annotated reading list appropriate for each chapter.
• Part 7 provides over 1100 multiple-choice, true-false, and essay questions. These are also available in computerized format.
• Part 8 provides transparency masters that you can use to teach difficult principles and concepts from each chapter.
We hope that this organization will allow you to locate and use the information provided quickly and easily. We wish you and your students an enjoyable, stimulating course!
organizing the course
SAMPLE COURSE SYLLABUS
Students learn skills and strategies designed to prepare and deliver informative and persuasive speeches. Special consideration is given to adapting communication styles and content to diverse co-cultural speakers and audiences. The course includes practice in public speaking.
At one time or another, each of you will be called upon to stand before a group and deliver information, argue a position, present an award, introduce a guest speaker, or honor a special event or occasion. At these times, it is important that you command the audience’s attention, present yourself as credible, represent your position clearly and accurately, and speak with conviction.
In this course, we contend that audiences and speakers live and interact within a multicultural society. As such, we need to be sensitive to the unique communication demands of co-culturally diverse groups living and speaking in our communities today. This course will examine both the speaker and the audience as members of co-cultures—cultures that may be similar but often fail to overlap as much as we might like (or believe). Speakers must recognize their own ethnocentrism, adapt to the co-cultural affiliations of their audience, and be sensitive to verbal and nonverbal symbols that may offend, alienate, be misunderstood, and so on.
This is not a course about how to write a speech. It is a course about communicating in public contexts. Consequently, you will be asked to present to your peers a number of speeches. In this class, we take the point of view that students need confidence to succeed in public speaking. This confidence is a direct result of understanding the information presented in the text and lectures, as well as practicing the skills in application assignments. If you are one of the many students who are a little uncomfortable (or worse) about having to speak in front of an audience, this course should lessen those fears. If you are a student for whom English is a second, not a first, language, this course will provide you with a safe environment in which to practice your skills and reduce your fears as well.
Instructor: Jennifer Waldeck (Insert your name.)
Office hours: MWF 1–2:00 PM
(Every university has its own policy; check with your department.)
Office phone: (310) 555-9048 (Insert your campus/office phone number.)
Text: Kearney, P., & Plax, T. G. (1999). Public speaking in a diverse society, second edition. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.
Student Learning Objectives:
1. Students will learn how to construct (research, outline, and organize) public speeches for delivery to diverse co-cultural audiences.
2. Students will be able to deliver informative, persuasive, and specialized speeches to audiences representing diverse co-cultural affiliations.
3. Besides developing speaker skills and sensitivities, students will develop analytical skills and active critical listening skills.
4. Students will learn how to successfully reduce and manage their apprehension about communicating in public contexts.
5. Students will become sensitive to audience and speaker characteristics that are influenced by co-cultural affiliations.
6. Students will become aware of their own tendencies to be ethnocentric and learn to avoid being stereotypical in their responses to others.
You are expected to attend all classes. Absences require a physician’s verification to be excused. Each unexcused absence will result in a reduction of 5 attendance points. The maximum reduction is 20.
You MUST call if an emergency prevents you from giving a speech on an assigned date. A grade of 0 will be assigned if you miss your scheduled day without a physician’s verification for an absence.
Do not be late to class (especially classes that include speeches). Walking into class late disrupts the presenter; be courteous. Coming to class late or leaving early will be counted as an absence for the entire class period.
(This is a sample attendance policy; you may want to check your department’s policy on attendance and revise accordingly.)
Daily reading assignments from the text are listed on the course schedule attached. Read the material before you come to class.
Three exams with multiple-choice, true-false, and short-answer essay questions will be given. Each exam will cover readings from the text and lectures from class.
There will be three major and four minor speeches. Each speech will build upon the previous one. This incremental method is based on the idea that a complex activity (like public speaking) is best learned in small units of instruction. When complex skills are developed gradually, opportunities for success and reinforcement are enhanced.
1. You must present your speeches on the assigned day. If an emergency exists, only with independent verification will you be allowed to deliver the speech at a later date (potentially the end of the session).
2. Disagreements over speech grades should be resolved on the day the grade is given.
3. Do not miss exam dates. Makeups for exams will only be given for those who provide a physician’s verification for an absence.
4. The university’s policy on plagiarism will be strictly enforced. Plagiarism is literary thievery. It is taking the words or ideas of another and representing them as your own. Plagiarism will result in an F in the course.
5. If you have a physical challenge or condition that could impair your participation or performance in the course, it is your responsibility to notify the instructor immediately.
6. No extra-credit work is allowed.
Protocol of Performance:
1. All speakers must be on time! Doors close when class is scheduled to begin.
2. All audience members must also be on time for performances. If you are absent during any performance day (whether or not you are scheduled to speak), 5 points will be deducted from your final grade.
3. On each day you are scheduled to perform a major speech, you must turn in a typed outline stapled to your criteria sheet. Late outlines will result in a reduction of your speech performance grade.
Major Speech 1....30
Major Speech 2....30
Major Speech 3....30
Minor Speech 1.....5
Minor Speech 2.....5
Minor Speech 3.....5
Minor Speech 4.....5
(The more speaking opportunities you can provide your students, the better. You may want to assign as many as three or four major speeches, but you may also want to assign some minipresentations such as 1-minute speeches, like giving a toast or an award speech, presenting a eulogy or graduation speech, or making some other kind of specialized presentation.)
Grading Scale Percent
A = 180–200 90–100%
B = 160–179 80–89
C = 140–159 70–79
D = 120–139 60–69
F = 119 and below 59 and below
TEACHING A SEMESTER COURSE
15-Week, 45-Hour Semester Course Outline
Week Speeches, Lectures, and Exams Readings
Lecture Chapters 1 and 2
Minor Speech 1: Speech of Introduction
2 Lecture Chapters 3 and 4
Minor Speech 2: Presenting an Award
3 Lecture Chapters 5 and 6
Minor Speech 3: Accepting an Award
4 Exam 1
Lecture Chapter 7
5 Lecture Chapters 8 and 9
Major Speech 1: Informative
6 Major Speech 1 (continued)
Lecture Chapters 10 and 11
7 Lecture Chapter 12
8 Major Speech 2: Informative
9 Lecture Chapter 13
10 Minor Speech 4: Giving a Toast
Lecture Chapters 14 and 15
11 Lecture Chapter 16
12 Major Speech 3: Persuasive
13 Major Speech 3 (continued)
Lecture Chapter 17
14 Minor Speech 5: Eulogy
Lecture Chapter 18
15 Exam 3
(Depending on the number of speeches assigned, you may want to rearrange your weekly course outline. For example, you may want to allow one 50-minute session solely for the presentation of six or seven student speeches, which are about 4 to 5 minutes in length.)
TEACHING A QUARTER COURSE
10-Week, 40-Hour Quarter Course Outline
Week Speeches, Lectures, and Exams Readings
Lecture Chapters 1 and 2
2 Minor Speech 1: Speech of Introduction
Minor Speech 2: Presenting an Award
Lecture Chapters 3 and 4
3 Minor Speech 3: Accepting an Award
Lecture Chapters 5 and 6
4 Exam 1
Major Speech 1: Informative Chapters 7 and 8
5 Major Speech 1 (continued)
Lecture Chapters 9–11
6 Major Speech 2: Informative Chapter 12
7 Exam 2
Lecture Chapter 13
8 Minor Speech 4: A Graduation Toast
Lecture Chapters 14 and 15
9 Major Speech 3: Persuasive
Lecture Chapters 16 and 17
10 Lecture Chapter 18
(Depending on the number of speeches assigned, you may want to rearrange your weekly course outline. For example, you may want to allow one 75-minute session solely for the presentation of nine or ten student speeches, which are about 4 to 5 minutes in length.)
TEACHING TIPS FOR NEW TEACHERS
A General Overview of Teaching and Planning
As a rule, many teachers are trained in subject or content competencies within their area of study, but few are required to have any formal background in teaching skills (McKeachie, 1986). Good and Brophy (1987) state that “many teachers fail to fulfill their potential . . . , not because they do not know the subject matter, but because they do not understand students or classrooms” (p. 3). They argue that more attention is needed in studying “action systems knowledge” rather than “subject matter knowledge.” Action systems knowledge refers to teaching skills such as planning lessons, making decisions about lesson pace, explaining material clearly, and responding to individual differences in how students learn (Leinhardt & Smith, 1984, cited in Good & Brophy, 1987). In other words, there’s more to teaching than the what of content; we must also pay attention to how we relate that content to our students. We may all have a lot to teach, to say to our students, but we must also learn how to communicate what we know in our efforts to become more effective at what we do.
This section includes some general teaching tips or suggestions that will enable beginning teachers of the course to enter the classroom organized and prepared to meet the challenges of instruction. The key to good instruction is the ability to communicate effectively. Fortunately, that’s our profession. Communication professionals like us have a jump start on teaching. Importantly, because we are communication specialists, our students expect us to be excellent public speakers and to provide public speaking role models for them to emulate. Every time we enter the classroom, then, we must remember to practice all that we know about public speaking.
Learning Domains and Learning Objectives
Categories of learning can be grouped into three major categories: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. These areas (or “domains,” as they are generally called) are widely referred to in the literature that discusses learning objectives. Understanding the levels within each domain is important when planning a unit of instruction (Kemp, 1985). For your convenience, we have provided for each text chapter a list of learning objectives that assess all three domains. Teaching public speaking requires that you teach cognitive principles and engage students in a variety of public speaking skills assignments. To develop affect, or liking for the course (and for you), you will also want your students to become involved in a variety of experiential learning activities. To help you develop a better understanding of how to use learning objectives, we have provided this brief overview on learning domains and objectives.
The cognitive domain focuses on intellectual abilities and skills. The six cognitive objectives are ordered in a hierarchy from simple to complex types of learning: knowledge (for example, list the three goals of informative speaking); comprehension (understand the difference between informative and persuasive speaking); application (write an original informative speech); analysis (identify the type of logic employed in a given speech); synthesis (provide alternative logic patterns to the same speech); and evaluation (tell why a particular speech is good or bad) (Bloom, Engelhart, Frost, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956). Teachers tend to test the cognitive area more often as grade level increases. By the time students are in college, they are tested almost entirely on learning that occurs in this domain.
The affective domain focuses on students' attitudes and emphasizes the development of appreciation through changes in interests, attitudes, and values. That is, the objectives in the affective domain range from low levels of enjoyment or liking to higher levels of wanting to learn even more and applying the learning to other areas (Krathwohl, Bloom, & Masia,
1956). The hierarchy in the affective domain includes receiving, or attending to something (taking notes from lecture); responding, or showing some new behavior as a result of experience (taking a deep breath and looking at the audience before speaking); valuing, or showing some involvement or commitment (joining the debate team); integrating a new value into one’s general set of values (recognizing that reasoning and evidence are critical); and acting consistently with the new value (using reasoning and evidence in the speech) (Woolfolk & McCune-Nicolich, 1984). Unlike the cognitive domain, instruction in the affective domain is rarely strategically planned. However, students are likely to learn cognitively when they are predisposed to like what they learn as well (Kearney & McCroskey, 1980). By internalizing the value of specific content, students also tend to learn content—in other words, they meet cognitive objectives. Furthermore, with an affective orientation, students tend to develop positive attitudes toward the course, the course content, and the teacher. Consequently, teachers need to plan to enhance students’ willingness or affective orientation to learn.
The psychomotor domain of learning focuses on developing particular performance abilities (in this case, public speaking skills). Psychomotor outcomes include reflex movements (nonverbal adaptors); fundamental or inherent movements (walking from one end of the stage to the other); perceptual abilities (selectively ignoring negative feedback from hecklers in the audience); physical abilities (sustaining eye contact while under pressure); skilled movements (expansive use of gestures); and nondiscursive communication (purposeful gestures) (Harrow, 1972). For students to master psychomotor learning, instruction must be specifically directed toward the development of these and other public speaking skills. In skills-oriented communication courses, attention should be focused on psychomotor outcomes of speech delivery, listening, and other verbal and nonverbal skills.
Because all three learning domains typically occur simultaneously, teachers need to recognize the importance of each outcome. Instruction should be targeted across all three domains and result in a change in cognitive, affective, and psychomotor outcomes.
When instruction is based on the domains of learning, learning objectives should specifically define the behavior desired (or required) of the student. Psychomotor objectives focus on observable changes, such as what the learner will be able to do: lean forward, engage in eye contact, use illustrators, or decrease the use of adaptors. Cognitive objectives are usually stated in terms of internal changes, such as understand, recognize, create, or apply. Nevertheless, both types of objectives are simply descriptions of changes in learners (Woolfolk & McCune-Nicolich, 1984). Therefore, if a student has learned, he or she will be able to demonstrate the defined behavior.
Learning objectives serve several purposes: First, they provide a useful method of organizing course content; second, they prescribe the level and type of learning requested from the student; and third, they assist in evaluation and test construction (Woolfolk & McCune-Nicolich, 1984). Additional studies have found that objectives serve as cues for learners to attend to relevant, as opposed to irrelevant or accidental, information (Kaplan, 1974; Kaplan & Rothkopf, 1974; Kaplan & Simmons, 1974; Rothkopf & Kaplan, 1972, cited in Lashbrook & Wheeless, 1978). Popham and Baker (1970) suggested that objectives may help increase student achievement while decreasing uncertainty and behavior problems. In summary, learning objectives clearly specify to the learner what is to be learned, how it is to be learned, and how he or she can be expected to be evaluated. Having a clear idea of what to focus on, students are more likely to spend more time studying or practicing relevant skills. Therefore, they are more likely to achieve the goals specified in the objectives (Woolfolk & McCune-Nicolich, 1984). Through such organization, the teacher and the students are better able to focus their attention and effort toward instruction and learning. Finally, evaluating instructor effectiveness and student learning becomes easier and more precise.
Writing learning objectives involves formulating a precise statement that answers the question “What should the learner have learned or be able to do upon completing the unit or chapter?” It is important to ask yourself this question each time you start to write an objective. To answer the question, it is necessary to write each learning objective with an action verb (“to name,” “to look,” “to compare”), followed by the object of that action (“to name the parts of an informative speech”). In some cases, you may want to be more specific by indicating the performance standard or any conditions under which evaluation will take place—for example, “The student should be able to name the parts of an informative speech in order [performance standard] with 100 percent accuracy [conditions of evaluation].” In many cases, the performance standards and conditions of evaluation are understood by the teacher and the learner.
Testing and Evaluation
Tests are a common method of evaluation. In public speaking courses, exams comprise approximately half of students’ total evaluation (speaking assignments typically comprise the other half). Students in public speaking often misunderstand the need to test their knowledge of speaking principles, concepts, and processes, preferring that their evaluation be based solely on oral performance. Be sure to provide students with a rationale for testing cognitive learning in addition to public speaking skills. Tell them that it’s important to know why or explain how particular communication skills and techniques work or fail to work. You might also explain that exams actually help some students, particularly those who are highly apprehensive, pass the course successfully.
Objective questions such as multiple-choice, true-false, matching, and short-answer are effective for measuring knowledge and comprehension. Because such questions limit the number of possible interpretations at these lower cognitive levels, responses are often easier to grade. Unfortunately, this is not the case for evaluating essays. Even so, we like to use some essay questions because they effectively measure higher-order learning of application, synthesis, and evaluation. It’s a good idea to provide a mix of question types; in this way, students who are good at one type of test but poor at another will have multiple opportunities to show what they know.
The psychomotor domain can be assessed through the demonstration of skills. Public speaking instructors should rely on some sort of objective criteria that specifies particular skills to be attained. It’s a good idea to give students your skills-based criteria while they are still in the process of preparing their presentations. In this way, they can optimize their chances of doing exactly what you want. In Part 3, we provide a variety of criteria sheets that you can use or modify in your evaluation of different types of student speeches.
Learning in the affective domain is also important to measure. Surveys and other types of more informal feedback are effective means of gathering such information. In each chapter of the book, we provide a self-report assessment that students can complete. We recommend that students complete these assessments anonymously, as confidentiality ensures more accurate responses. You can use their responses to stimulate more general classroom interaction.
All methods of evaluation are made easier when objectives are used to specify the expected learning outcomes. Specific test questions derived from learning objectives can be easily developed. It is also important for testing to occur frequently. Frequent tests encourage the retention of information and appear to be more effective than a comparable amount of time spent reviewing and studying material (Nungester & Duchastel, 1982). Tests and other forms of evaluation (homework) indicate whether you have successfully taught. In turn, feedback from you as the teacher allows students to determine whether they have learned. Learning is enhanced by immediate feedback (Nash, Richmond, & Andriate, 1984; Woolfolk & McCune-Nicolich, 1984). That is, it is important to return examinations and hand speech critiques to your students very soon after students complete their work (ASAP!).
Anxiety, an additional issue that concerns both students and teachers, is related to evaluation and feedback. Fear of evaluation, though common in the classroom, may inhibit learning (Hurt, Scott, & McCroskey, 1978; Woolfolk & McCune-Nicolich, 1984). Often the sources of students’ anxieties are beyond the teacher’s control. Students may suffer from poor self-concepts, an over-concern for grades, negative reinforcement, repeated failure, or poor modeling behavior (Nash, Richmond, & Andriate, 1984). Nevertheless, you can help reduce evaluation anxiety by setting up situations that maximize the probability of success. By using learning objectives, assigning numerous minor speech assignments that have only minor grade significance, issuing study guides prior to exams, and offering options within the exam to allow the students to demonstrate their best potential, you can help reduce students’ anxiety.
Students are not the only people prone to evaluation anxiety. Instructors must deal with evaluations of their own performance from students, peers, society, and themselves (Branan, 1972; Mouly, 1973; Check, 1979). You can increase your chances of success while decreasing your own level of anxiety by planning and developing a sound and systematic course that includes learning objectives, numerous methods of student evaluation (exams, major and minor speech assignments), and well-developed, rehearsed lectures.
Getting Started: The First Day or Week of Classes
In this section, we briefly outline a list of issues a new teacher may want to consider before beginning the first day of class.
1. Teachers’ special concerns
a. Will they think I’m smart?
b. Will they know how inexperienced I am?
c. Will they do what I ask them to do?
d. Will they like me, approve of me, and be my friend?
2. Students’ special concerns
a. Will this be a nice teacher? Will he or she be easy to talk to and easily accessible?
b. How hard will the class be? How much work do I have to do?
c. Will this teacher be fair?
d. Is this class going to be fun?
e. How relevant is the information going to be?
f. How will grades be determined?
g. How many papers, speeches, and exams will I have to do? What type of exams will they be?
Getting Started on the Right Foot (Forming an Impression)
1. Appearance (clothing and grooming). Physical appearance or general attractiveness is one of the most influential cues for initial interactions. Within the classroom context, perceptions of both teacher and students are influenced by nonverbal messages revealed through appearance. In general, informal but well-dressed teachers are perceived as more sympathetic, friendly, and flexible. On the other hand, teachers dressed formally (in suits) are often viewed as being more knowledgeable, organized, and well prepared. For most teachers, it is recommended that they start the semester dressed more formally and dress more informally as time goes by. However, we warn against trying to dress too much like your students; your colleagues, and many of your students as well, will want you to look professional at all times.
2. Credibility. Credibility refers to how believable a teacher is perceived to be. Within the instructional context, the believability of the teacher has a major impact on learning. Five dimensions of credibility have been identified: competence, character (trustworthiness), sociability, extroversion, and composure. In general, teachers should strive to be perceived as knowledgeable, honest, friendly, outgoing, and relaxed.
3. Immediacy. Immediacy is the degree of perceived physical and psychological closeness between people (Mehrabian, 1971). In essence, immediate behaviors produce reciprocal liking. Certain verbal and nonverbal behaviors have been linked to the immediacy of teachers in the classroom. Researchers have found that immediate teachers communicate at close distances, engage in eye contact, smile, face students, use gestures and overall body movements, touch others, have a relaxed body posture, and speak expressively all to a greater degree than nonimmediate teachers.
Verbal behaviors related to perceptions of immediacy include the teacher’s use of humor; praise of students’ work, actions, or comments; willingness to become engaged in conversations with students before, after, or outside of class; self-disclosure; asking questions or encouraging students to talk; soliciting students’ opinions; following up on student-initiated topics; speaking of “our” class and what “we” are doing; providing feedback on students’ work; asking students how they feel about class procedures; inviting students to telephone or meet outside of class; and knowing and using students’ first names.
Adding Students to Your Class
1. In theory—check your department’s policy and follow it.
2. In practice, how do you say no when there’s still physical space available? Explain to your students that, in order for you and them to successfully complete the course requirements, only a limited number of students can be actively enrolled. Over-enrolling the class only shortchanges the students.
Teaching the Syllabus
Explain to your students that the course syllabus is a written contract between you and them. Be sure to teach or explain each and every detail of your course requirements! In fact, some institutions require that you go over the syllabus aloud with your students the first week of class to make sure they understand the rules and procedures of your course.
Components of a Syllabus (see sample syllabus)
1. Title of course, catalog course description
2. Course objectives and goals
3. Time and place course meets
4. Office location, office hours, phone
5. Textbook (complete APA reference)
6 Course requirements
a. Attendance policy
b Exams: number and types of questions
c. Speeches: number and types of speeches
7. Policy on absences and tardiness
8. Policy on grading attendance
9. Policy on grading class participation
10. Policy on extra-credit assignments
11. Policy on makeups
12. Policy on rewrite and respeak options
13. Grading policy, point system, weighted grades
14 Weekly outline
15. Reading assignments
16. Due dates of exams, speeches, and outlines
Teachers' Idiosyncratic Rules
Not all rules and procedures in a course have good, sound instructional reasons behind them. They should, but teachers are only human, and some behaviors or practices annoy them. For those behaviors you are unable to ignore or tolerate, be sure to tell your students what you prefer instead. Tell them your special concerns or requirements. You may want all speech outlines turned in to be stapled, late students to knock before entering the room or wait outside till the student speaker is finished, or students to call you by your professional title or your first name. Whatever the idiosyncracy, tell them what you want instead. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle—and your students some embarrassment—if you all understand the rules and procedures of the course right away.
Setting the Tone and Pace of the First Day or Week
The first week of class is often characterized by a lot of administrative duties. Try to relax and enjoy yourself during this period. Be firm but friendly. Get to know your students. Take time to learn their names, where they are from, and why they are interested (or not interested) in taking your course. Find out if they have any special problems or concerns. Try to reduce their anxieties about taking your class and about public speaking.
At the same time, give them some information about yourself. Besides letting them know some of your own professional credentials (be careful not to brag, but don’t sell yourself short), tell them a little about your own life. Do you have children? How many? How old? What about pets? Hobbies? Favorite local restaurants and shops? When selecting what information to disclose and what information to withhold, keep in mind one important principle: Students like to hear good things about teachers—what they like as opposed to what they don’t like. They like teachers to stimulate and promote a positive, warm, and supportive climate.
Tips on Lecturing Effectively
Lecturing well is a lot like effectively presenting a speech. In fact, we refer to lecturing in the textbook as one type of informative speech. Consequently, all the principles for effectively informing apply to giving a good lecture. What follows are some extra tips that we have found useful in our own efforts to present information in a way that both stimulates student learning of difficult concepts and captures students’ interest.
1. Put an outline of your lecture on the board or list key concepts that you intend to cover that day. The transparency masters in this manual, for use with an overhead projector, can help in this regard.
2. Orient students to the day’s topic by:
a. Discussing the significance of the topic. Ask and answer the question “Why do I need to learn this?”
b. Showing how the new topic/information relates to past learning.
3. Define key terms. Give your definitions slowly to make sure that students have enough time to write them.
4. Provide at least one example per concept or principle. Then, have students provide one of their own examples.
5. Apply the concept or principle. This tip is particularly important when teaching skills like public speaking. This can be done through some kind of activity, exercise, questionnaire, or role-playing or by having the students give an actual presentation that demonstrates those principles. Be sure to talk about the actual behaviors or skills that demonstrate your concept or principle. For instance, when discussing speaker credibility, it’s important to extend your lecture to include the actual verbal and nonverbal behaviors that enhance or detract from speaker credibility. Then, have students demonstrate those behaviors the next time they stand up to give a speech.
Tips on Facilitating Discussion
Encouraging student discussion in the classroom is often difficult at first. What follows are some strategies that are helpful in eliciting student talk.
1. Before entering the classroom, generate a list of questions that you can ask students regarding the reading material, the speech assignment, and so on.
2. Be sure to ask open-ended questions—those that ask for more than a simple yes or no answer.
3. When lecturing, provide an example that demonstrates the concept or principle. Then, ask students to do the same. Often, if you generate your own example first, students will be able to think of one of their own.
4. Don’t be reluctant to ask students to give examples.
5. Ask a question and then wait. Wait some more. Most teachers wait less than 4 seconds for a student to respond! That doesn’t give students enough time to process the question, think of an intelligible answer, and then encode it. Instead, try applying the 15-second rule. If you remain silent long enough (15 seconds), someone is bound to jump in!
6. Direct your questions to particular students—not by name, but by giving one or two of them prolonged eye contact.
7. Target your questions to those students who like to talk—those with little or moderate apprehension about communicating. Highly apprehensive students are not likely to help you out, not because they don’t want to but because they’re afraid to. Incidentally, don’t confuse silence or culture with apprehension. In some cultures, it’s impolite to question or interrupt, but students from those cultures enjoy answering when they are asked a direct question.
8. Ask “why” questions as a follow-up to a story or a comment that a student has made. In other words, extend any input that a student offers.
9. Ask students to discuss the consequences or implications of the situation being discussed: “So then what did you do?” or “What happened after that?”
10. Ask students to share their feelings about a particular episode or experience that happened to them: “Did that make you angry?”
11. Ask students to indicate what they gained or lost from their experience—and what they might have gained or lost if they had changed their communication behavior: “What did you gain (or lose) by giving your presentation that way?” and “What will you gain (or lose) if you try this?”