Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Start of the Silliness

Blogger's Note: This is the introduction I've just written for a paper I'm writing, in which I will outline my pedagogical basis for building an online public speaking course (which can be seen here).

Allow me a little facetiousness, because I may have found my teaching philosophy summed up in a cartoon. Specifically, “A Tale of Two Kitties,” a Warner Brothers Merrie Melody from 1942, in which two cats (modeled after the comedy team Abbott and Costello) try again and again to catch and devour an anything-but-helpless little bird – Tweety in his debut.

Babbitt is the teacher. He spends a lot of time using various tools to help and encourage Catsello to try to “get the bird.” From climbing a ladder to get the bird to being shot up to the bird’s nest either by explosives or a jack-in-the-box, Babbitt encourages Catsello to use familiar tools and a portion of his own wit to capture Tweety, who represents that goal of both teacher and student – a valuable, pedagogically-sound learning experience.

And though I am no teacher, and though I realize I have as much to learn about teaching as Catsello has to learn about hanging about on a wire when Tweety wants to play “This Little Piggy Went to Market,” I believe the course I have built, “Communications 101: Public Speaking, Everyday Speech,” adequately applies the theory of constructivism, along with scaffolding and a learner-centered focus, to create an environment in which I as the teacher can help students apply their current knowledge to learn and apply new skills. That does not mean I have built the perfect course – far from it. I know I have much to learn. But because this course relies on a pedagogical foundation to support its use of technology in helping students apply their current skills and knowledge in the realm of public speaking, I believe I could successfully convince administrators at the University of Idaho to let me teach this course.

Here's the video. I hope I've proved my point:

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