ERIC Number: ED289182
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Sep
Observation Projects: People-Watching for Fun and Learning.
Litterst, Judith K.
In keeping with the trend toward active, participative learning, observation projects for speech communication students can allow them to experiment with designing and carrying out a study of human communication. Students can be encouraged to look at the dynamics of a church congregation, a courtroom, a pre-game football huddle, or an office, and try to interpret the types of communication behavior they see. Moreover, they can be encouraged to connect their observations with research literature they read. While observation projects may have their drawbacks, such as interfering with or influencing the communication being observed, they are invaluable for making learning meaningful. Teachers can help produce higher quality projects if they do the following: (1) provide students with helpful observation techniques and collection methods, and reinforce the importance of the observation record; (2) anticipate and discuss with students the frustrations of this type of research; (3) take a nondirective approach to criticism of projects; (4) provide periodic guidance, including conferences with students having difficulties; (5) require periodic progress reports; (6) have students prepare an annotated bibliography; and (7) provide students with guidance in organizing the written report. Such projects can give students skills, attitudes, and knowledge that govern behavior beyond their school years. (One note and eighteen references are included.) (JC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Association of Minnesota (Northfield, MN, September 1987).