There are an amazing amount of student speeches on YouTube. There are not many examples for public speaking students to watch for class, though. I’m looking specifically for examples that don’t have that polished, produced look common to publishers’ supplementary materials. Unfortunately, most of examples seem to be videos of students delivering their speeches to their sofas. Clearly, this is the product of online public speaking classes, something I have mixed feelings about. Ever since I taught an Intro to Women’s Studies class through distance learning about fifteen years ago, I’ve been wary of online teaching. An MSN Money article talks about whether or notRead More →

I have almost completed the first week of class. I have two more classes to go, but I can safely say that my classes this semester are going to rock. I’m psyched about school now. My students have lifted my spirits. This is why I entered this profession. I just came out of a class where we did the “I am From Poem.” I have written about using this activity in class before. I enjoy this poem because it teaches me about the students’ lives. One of the poem’s stanzas is a list of sayings you heard growing up. Today, I heard some of theRead More →

This semester seems to show an increased number of Hispanic students enrolled in my classes, a reflection of the changing demographics of Baton Rouge. Perhaps the 2010 census will reveal similar changes in BR demographics. One neat thing about my college is its diversity. The campus is a much more wheel-chair accessible campus because it’s new. There are many students on the GI bill. This is just a speculation though. There are many newly immigrated students there too, especially Asian students. Perhaps the school is more welcoming and English is easier learned there. As a result of all this, the students in my classes areRead More →

Today in class, students were supposed to bring an editorial from a newspaper. More than half the students didn’t know what an editorial was or where to find it. What kind of education system do we have in this state? When students can’t tell the difference between an editorial and a news article, I get scared. I’m not talking about the more sophisticated position that questions the difference between information and persuasion, either: “there’s no such thing as information; all information is perspectival.” The students simply didn’t know the kinds of writing in a newspaper. It means that our educational system is not teaching studentsRead More →

From deep in the heart of Gen Y in higher ed: It’s time to rethink teaching public speaking, though with deeply mixed feelings. Do I teach to the new, more visual, more “parallel” (rather than linear) thinkers? Or do I try to drag them to the 19th century way of thinking, as Kathleen Jamieson would have us do in Eloquence in an Electronic Age. It’s a puzzle.

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So I had lunch with the chair of my area, and he told me that what I’ve experienced with my students not showing up is the norm, not the exception. That made me feel relieved in one regard. I have always believed that students vote with their feet and that low attendance was a reflection on me. He said it was a big problem for the school. I am experiencing culture shock, I guess. I need to come up with some creative ways to reach the students. I’m open to suggestions.Read More →

Today and yesterday have been disappointing days. I assigned informative speeches to be delivered the day after spring break, and no speakers showed. Perhaps that was my mistake, and so I will remember to try something different next spring. However, absenteeism has happened consistently for each of the speeches we’ve done so far. It was just particularly bad this week. Of the students who did come to class, very few of them were prepared to deliver their speech. Students are fully aware that this costs them a letter grade on their speeches. I don’t understand why students don’t do their work. Consistently, students don’t showRead More →

I generally recommend that professors NOT respond to student emails as soon as the messages arrive, even if it will take less than two minutes to respond, because it leads undergraduates to expect immediate feedback. If you routinely reply to student queries within minutes, later in the semester, when you don’t answer the 11pm cry for help the night before the exam, your students will become disgruntled at your “lack of responsiveness.” Don’t train them to expect service 24/7.

– Academic Coach

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I had to write a statement of my teaching philosophy for my portfolio, which my school uses to evaluate the faculty. I just used the statement that I wrote while I was at my previous institution, but I have a strong feeling that this statement is going to change in the next year. It sounds too abstract. I found a helpful site called Confessions of a Community College Dean, by Dean Dad, which I’ve been enjoying. Unfortunately, I found it AFTER I submitted my teaching philosophy statement. Dean Dad says to be specific and use examples. I didn’t do that at all. In any case,Read More →

I’ve been doing some thinking about what it means to teach at a community college compared to university teaching, which is hard to do without any experience there yet. I can make some predictions since I know the populations/demographics. This gem made me reflect: Feminist Pedagogy in Community Colleges Because of the pressures and external commitments of students at the two-year college, unless these same students are able to apprehend the course material and see its relevance early in the semester, they may become discouraged and either withdraw from the course or from school altogether. This makes me think I need to get on theRead More →