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Syllabus and Course Description
Critical Thinking and Speech
Ms. Shotola

Primary Textbook: Speech for Effective Communication


    Course Objectives
    This course will help you:

  1. understand yourself as a communicator

  2. develop research skills

  3. develop reasoning and critical thinking skills

  4. be sensitive to the communication attempts of others

  5. be aware of the techniques and skills used in the deliberative process

  6. strengthen your communication skills in formal and informal communication settings

    Grading Policy
  1. Grades are based on points earned for graded work.

  2. Grades are also based on consistent attendance, class cooperation and participation and appropriate behavior.

  3. Performances and tests will vary in value, usually around 100 points.

  4. Quizzes will vary in value from 10-50 points.

  5. Other assignments and activities will range in value from 10-150 points.

  6. Earned points are totaled and averaged to determine grades according to the following scale:

  7. 90-100% =A
    80-89% =B
    70-79% =C
    60-69% =D
    59% and below =F

    Assignments and Activities
  1. Classroom discussions and activities

  2. Regular homework assignments

  3. Individual presentations:

  4. group presentations:

  5. Quizzes, unit exams and semester final examinations

  6. Overview of the Year:
    Our course has four major units of study divided by mini-units devoted to developing critical thinking skills.

    Unit 1: Exploring Communication
    Unit 2: Critical Thinking
    Unit 3: Public Speaking--The Informative Speech
    Unit 4: Critical Thinking
    Unit 5: Public Speaking--The Persuasive Speech
    Unit 6: Critical Thinking and the Impromptu Speech
    Unit 7: Debate

    Debate is the unit in which everything we have done all year comes together. It is our most extensive, difficult and, perhaps, most important unit. Our debate topic this year is Standards in US Public Education. You will do preliminary readings throughout the year to prepare for this unit. By June we will all be minor experts on the subject. Pay attention to what you come across in the news, on the net, in magazines, on TV, etc. having to do with this topic. The greater your familiarity with it, the easier the debate unit will be for you.

    Group Discussion: A Recurring Unit
    Every other Friday throughout the year, we will drop whatever we have been doing and engage in semi-formal class discussions. The topics and formats of these discussions will be determined by you. You will work in pairs to prepare the materials and lead the class in discussion. Each pair will direct one discussion. The grade for this assignment will go into your 4th quarter grade.

    Policies and the Way Things Work

    1. Late Work--Due dates are assigned for all homework for a reason (duh). You are expected to have your work completed and prepared to turn in on the date it is due. Late work will not accepted, except in the case of excused absences. If the assignment is not turned in when it is called for, it will be considered late. So, if you left it in your locker--bummer. And don’t ask for a pass. Be more responsible next time. The following are the exceptions which prove the rule:

    A. Late Coupon--You will receive one late coupon per quarter which will allow you to turn in one assignment one day late per quarter. Your assignment will be counted at full credit with the late coupon. After one day, I will not accept the assignment, even with the late coupon, even for reduced credit. The late coupon must be stapled to the assignment. If you do not use your coupon, you may turn it in at the end of the quarter for 15 points.

    B. Speeches--You will get more information on this when we start the speeches, but this is what it boils down to:
    1. Speech Paperwork--I will accept speech paperwork packets late, but you will lose 20% for each day it is late. (The Late Coupon can only be used if it is one day late.)

    2. Speech Presentations--No late speeches accepted. Period.

    C. Excused Absences--If you missed an assignment due to an excused absence, you will have the same amount of time as the rest of the class to complete the assignment. The assignment must be turned into your class period’s In Box with the date of absence and date turned in clearly labeled.

    2. In Box and Out Box--Your class has an In Box and an Out Box. If you hand me assignment or papers, they will disappear into the great nebula, never to be seen again. Save us both the trouble and put your papers in the In Box. If you are absent when I return papers, I will put them in the Out Box. Find them there.

    3. Quality of Work--Take pride in your work! Remember your work is a reflection on you. Neatness, readability and spelling always count. If your assignment makes my eyes hurt, I won’t read it. (My handwriting is lousy, too, so I know this isn’t easy for everyone.) Put your name on your papers! Anonymous papers will be fed to the ducks in the courtyard!

    4. Extra Credit--I don’t offer a great variety of extra credit opportunities, but they do come up from time to time. Pay attention and take advantage of them. One standing extra credit opportunity is for the typing of regular, daily assignments. You can earn up to two points of extra credit for typing any regular assignment. These points do add up!

    5. Lost Handouts--Be responsible. Be organized. Don’t lose your papers. All my handouts will be posted on my website listed above. If you lose something, go there and get the info or make yourself a copy. If you don’t have access at home, there are computers available for your use here in the building.

    6. Extra Help--I am available for extra help periods 1, 4 and 5. I am also available before and after school. If you need help, come talk to me and I will me MORE than happy to work with you. I am also very good about checking my email and responding, so you can drop questions to me after hours, as well. Please take advantage of these resources!