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ERIC Number: EJ888854
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-1740-4622
Teaching Metatheoretical Beliefs in Communication Theory
Heisler, Jennifer M.; Discenna, Thomas
Communication Teacher, v19 n2 p44-47 Apr 2005
Communication theory is one of the most challenging courses in the communication curriculum. Students and faculty alike must grapple with more abstract material, in some cases drastically different from the more skill-based courses such as speech, small group, or broadcast courses. In particular, communication theory is usually the starting ground for discussions about the metatheoretical assumptions that haunt the field of communication. This article aims to help students identify their own metatheoretical beliefs and the ways in which these beliefs are central to the understanding of communication theory. The activity presented in this article is predicated upon a team-teaching format and consists of two parts. For the first part, instructors must set aside at least a single class period to devote to discussions of ontology (human nature), epistemology (ways of knowing), and axiology (value and focus). The format of this class session(s) consists of both lecture and "debate." During the lecture portion, instructors must provide an explanation of the key terms involved: (1) ontology; (2) epistemology; and (3) axiology. During the "debate" portion, each instructor describes and promotes the metatheoretical approach in which he or she is most expert. It is also incumbent upon each of the instructors to offer criticisms of their colleague's assumptions. This debate should be offered in the spirit that Cushman (1998) describes as a questioning of the philosophical underpinnings upon which theoretical work must be based. The second part of the assignment asks students to ally themselves with a particular paradigmatic view. This takes the form of an essay in which students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the pros and cons of their own viewpoint in regards to the dialogue they have seen demonstrated in class.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A