De Anza Fountain

James Ahern - Speech Communication

Teaching Philosophy--an Evolving Statement

The best way that I can describe my philosophy is that I try to reach out to students, to make them feel comfortable, to talk to them whenever I have an opportunity, whether in or out of the classroom. I acknowledge students and encourage them to achieve their maximum potential.

I try to guide them and work with them in the classroom. From the first day of class I utilize speech activities that are interactive, that require everyone to learn each other’s names, and that starts a bonding process. Student questionnaires are completed that describe their background, career objectives, future goals, as well as their expectations about the course and the instructor.

I invite students to participate in a non-judgmental "workshop" where they can explore any fears about public speaking.  Students receive constructive criticism about the content and delivery of their presentations both from the instructor (one-on-one verbal and written) and from their peers.

I try to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where students feel free to ask questions, make comments, and receive feedback about their presentations. I let students know that if they are looking for a challenge, or striving to reach their potential as a public speaker, or as a better communicator, then this class may enable them to meet their needs.

In the classroom, students have many speaking opportunities to improve or polish their speaking and listening skills. Those opportunities include speech support groups, student introductions, narrative presentations, demonstration speeches, analyzing famous speeches, informative speeches, persuasive speeches, and a debate. Students research, rehearse, and present material with the goal of enhancing their speech communication skills and abilities.

Students are asked to view two of their speeches and prepare written self-critiques. By viewing their speeches, students have an opportunity to witness their actual performance. While in the classroom these speaking opportunities create a practical setting that will prepare them for future business settings and every day life.

I believe that teaching is a life-long learning process. I share my career and academic background with students and try to relate to what they are experiencing in college and in society. I try to create an atmosphere that includes the respect and dignity of the students. I learn from students’ presentations, feedback sessions, and oral and written critiques about the content and delivery of the course and the instruction.

I include the following statement at the end of the course syllabus:

“This course depends on your active participation and it will be as exciting, interesting, stimulating, and as fun, as the energy and enthusiasm that you bring to the class. The more you give, the more you will learn about your own strengths and limitations. You will also learn from and about your classmates and that you can be a part of their learning experience as well. Wishing you all the best in the days ahead!”

 

 

 




Contact
email Email: James Ahern
Phone: 408.864.8999x3103
Office hours: MW--4:25 to 4:55 p.m.

Office Location: L49

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated: 1/3/14