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a summing up of sorts

June 24, 2008

We are finishing up summer A session in which I taught the upper level communications class. I had a very good class. One student presented so well, and she used PowerPoint without putting a single word on her slides during any of her presentations. I have been more strict about using the textbook, Speech Comumunication Made Simple and the speech outlines and guidelines in the book. The book gives a good formula for making speeches which I think helps the students get organized for their speeches. It isn’t Garr Reynolds, but the presentations were better on the whole than in previous semesters.
Since summer session has 100 minute classes, I used the NPR hourly news summaries at the beginning of many classes. For Father’s Day, I got a dvd recorder and used parts of PBS news hour broadcasts for the final listening test and the final listening exam. With the constant exposure to the news, the students did well on the final, but their success could be from my not writing good enough tests. However, the previous tests were three years old and contained little that they heard about in the previous weeks.
I should explain that we use news shows as the final part of the listening curriculum to give a standard form of English to listen to. But the problem has been that the news shows age quickly. With the dvd recorder, perhaps I can use more news which is helpful because some news stories get repeated over a few days such as the current Mississippi River flooding in the upper Midwest of the United States. This type of repetition should help improve listening proficiency with meaningful repetitions.
I think I might be 66% of the way to where I would like the class to be. The students actually seem to enjoy at least some of it and make improvement during it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 14, 2008 5:58 am


    It is a problem with listenings and organising tests – to get something authentic and relatively currently, but not wanting to invent the wheel all the time. I’m doing oral skills this year again and so have spent time exploring Chinswing and Voicethread (lab hassles which I have finally sorted out so hopefully something will happen this coming semester with them) and getting students involved with podcasts – just listening at this stage.

    Do you use any of these?


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