Communication Skills for the US Classroom

Communication Skills for the U.S
September 19, 2013
Learning outcomes
Expressing concerns about being a GTA
Classroom scenarios
Discussion and activities
Resources on-campus/learning tools
Learning Outcomes
1. Identify ways in which you communicate and
how these may impact teaching in the US
2. Define appropriate communication with students
in the classroom
3. Discuss creative solutions to common
communication problems
Your concerns about teaching at OSU
On a sheet of paper write down
• Your biggest concerns about communicating in
the classroom.
Teaching Concerns
Be alert, but throw your concerns
Reflection Questions
• What kind of communication styles exist between
teachers and students in your culture?
• How do you think your students will perceive your
communication style?
Scenarios for Discussion
1. Students frequently ask you to repeat yourself.
2. Students want to “friend” you on Facebook and
want to interact socially outside of class.
3. Students back away from you during one-on-one
4. Students don't seem to be following your lecture
and you notice multiple students looking confused.
5. Students are being disruptive in your classroom,
constantly criticizing your teaching methods and
talking back during class.
Lesson #1- Teaching Styles
• If you are asked to repeat yourself, ask the class,
“Am I speaking too fast or too quiet?”
• Get more specific information: "Does this make
• Make eye contact.
Lesson #2- Set Your Boundaries
• Establish your boundaries early.
• Decide what works best for you and learn from
other GTAs about how they maintain their
• Be consistent.
• Change your Facebook Privacy settings so that
only friends can view your profile.
Lesson #3 Types of Communication
Lesson #4 Reflecting on Your
Teaching Sessions
• Reflection after every class = critical!!!
• Unique to each individual, but some techniques…
Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier from
Lesson #5 – Set Your Classroom
1. Define what you expect (behaviorally and
academically) from your students early and often
throughout the term.
2. Demonstrate confidence: clearly establish your
professional boundaries.
3. Document these expectations: A syllabus is a
contract between the student and the instructor and
can be used as reference throughout the term.
Reflection Questions
•What do you expect from your professors as a
student in the classroom?
•What do you expect (behaviorally and
academically) from your students?
•How could you initially communicate these
expectations and remind students of them
throughout the term?
Resources on-Campus
• OSU International Programs Office
• Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), 541-737-2804 –
look for upcoming seminars on teaching
• Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), 541-7372131 – for apparent mental health issues
• Student Conduct & Community Standards (SCCS), 541737-3656 - for disruptive behavior
• Student Care Team (SCT), 541-737-3343 - for a personal
• Academic Care Team (ACT), 541-737-2272 - for academic
• OSU Toastmasters
Learning Tools
• Ross, C. and J. Dunphy. 2007. Strategies for teaching assistant
and international teaching assistant development: Beyond
microteaching. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint: San Francisco, CA
• Sarkisian, E. 2006. Teaching American students: A guide for
international faculty and teaching assistants in colleges and
universities. Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning,
Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA
• Smith, J., Meyers, C.M., and A.J. Burkhalter. 1992.
Communicate: Strategies for international teaching assistants.
Regents/Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
• Bailey, K.M., Pialorsi, F., and J. Zukowski/Faust (eds). 1984.
Foreign teaching assistants in U.S. universities. National
Association for Foreign Student Affairs: Washington, D.C.
• Hooks, B. 1994. Teaching to transgress: Education as the
practice of freedom (Vol. 4). New York: Routledge.

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