Avoiding Speech in a Vaccuum

The way in which a course is constructed can have everything to do with the success of the course, and it’s consequential effect.  Barbara Jones of the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges describes in her article titled “Innovative Teaching Practices Maybe Worth Trying” how she herself as an anthropologist has applied her own knowledge to the construction of the classes she teaches.  One of the strategies she uses is the collaboration between writing/speech classes and her own anthropology classes, which helps students to be more engaged in the overall work that they are doing, and to benefit from the interdisciplinary teaching they receive.  A traditional course structure might see speech/writing classes as separate entirely from other subject classes like anthropology, and likewise students in each respective are are more likely to feel the absence of the other subjects.  Speech and writing classes often benefit greatly from exterior connection with other classes, and those other classes also constantly look to improve speech and writing within their respective student bodies.  Avoiding “speech in a vacuum” as a conscious decision can make all the difference; students feel less hindered by being graded strictly on reading comprehension and writing, and speech connects all the better with a subject.  With all this in mind, the inclusion of the oral exam within our class makes total sense, and the constant presence of dialogue in class as well.  The next step might be to even reach out towards a writing 101 class and allow them to play off the content addressed in Anthro 101.