Speech Observations Essay, Research Paper
Public communication is the process by which a group of individuals are identified as the receivers or listeners and a single individual is identified to provide the primary source of conversation. Today’s Government training classes are somewhat typical of this scenario. Though the instructors pull information from the students to ensure class participation, the primary flow of information is directed rather than having open discussions. I am currently attending a class, which has various instructors covering topics of their individual expertise. Two of these instructors display traits at opposite ends of the communication spectrum. One quite effective in maintaining classroom attention and participation, while the other is forced to take numerous breaks in the lecture to allow students to “wake up” and refocus on the lesson.
The first instructor, Scott, was obviously quite comfortable and well versed in the material he was presenting. He utilized viewgraphs for the initial introduction to the material, and when possible, made an analogy of the topic and related the information to his personal and professional experiences of over thirty years in the field. This gave the students the opportunity to hear the information in various ways and possibly help the understanding of how it might relate to their individual roles as they pertain to their jobs. His demeanor was affable and he seemed genuinely concerned that the class not only understood the topic in preparation for the exam, but also would be able to utilize the information in real time situations. As students related the information to their experiences and attempted to make analogies of their own he gave full attention to the student. He then reiterated the information for the rest of the class, ensuring they understood how the student’s analogy was pertinent to the topic. Once he felt the class had a thorough understanding of the issue he made a point to thank the student for the input. This directed attention to the student was a resourceful way of involving the student in the learning process, by allowing the student to try and relate the topic to a situation he may better understand. In addition, allowing the students to relate the information to his/her experiences was an effective way of gauging how well the material was being processed and understood by the class. On various occasions, the student’s analogy of the information was incorrect. This gave the instructor the insight of how the information was being perceived and allowed for additional clarification. This interaction between the students and instructor actually changed the style from a formal one-way line of communication, to a more comfortable interpersonal or interactive communication. Scott’s presence in the classroom was one of being in charge yet not overbearing. When he wanted to make a point, he stepped away from the podium and walked to the middle of the classroom, almost as if he wanted to ensure everyone understood the point he was making. This also ensure those in the back of the class were directly involved.
The second instructor, Tom, utilized an entirely different approach to instruction. Though he used viewgraphs, as did Scott, Tom relied on the information contained in the viewgraphs as a reference, vice knowing the information well enough to teach without constantly going back to the slides to refresh his memory. His approach to putting out the information was also far less personable. He was very structured and to the point in his deliverance of the information and utilized significantly fewer analogies. Additionally, he seldom related the topic to any personal or professional experiences, which he may possibly, did not have any to relate. As a result, the class was far less involved in the communication or learning processes. This was evident in the lack of students relating their own analogies and experiences. However, when students did engage in the process by relaying their experiences, Tom was inattentive to the individual and would be looking over his notes as to prepare for the next segment of the lesson. One can assume, that the only gauge Tom had to measure the success in accomplishing the task of exchanging the information would be the final exam. Unfortunately for the classes that Tom will teach in the future, this collection of students had extensive experience in the field of studies being taught. Therefore, the test results will be a false representation of the actual success of Tom’s teaching. Though Tom appeared to be reasonably educated, his skills in communication were not as well honed as Scott’s.
In comparing these cases, it is clear that ensuring both or all participants are actively involved is vital in a successful transfer of information. Additionally, communication is much more effective when an avenue for feedback is available. This ensures the information transmitted is received and understood as it was meant.