Communicating as a Teacher

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Dr. Jonathan Walters is a lecturer at Louisiana Tech University in the Math and Statistics department. He spent his college years gaining a Bachelor’s in Math and Physics, a Master’s in Math, and finished with a PhD in Computational Analysis and Modeling. Dr. Walters has been teaching at LA Tech for three years where he has had a lot of experience communicating with students, colleagues, and bosses.

Forms of Communication in Teaching

As a teacher, it seems obvious that oral communication is the most prominent. Dr. Walters says it is important for teachers to be concise and as least wordy as possible so as to not bombard students with information that does not pertain to the lesson. He was surprised to learn how much writing he would do for emails and memos. Memos require a certain format that Dr. Walters says he has to look up nearly every time he has to write one. The least common form of communication that he does is publications for journals that can be read by the world.

Effective Communication for Teachers

Dr. Walters believes that the effectiveness of different forms of communication depend upon the purpose you are wanting to achieve. He believes that emailing his students the lessons for them to then parse and learn from would be highly ineffective. His teaching style relies heavily on using the board in class to write down theorems, definitions, examples, etc., and then explaining what is written on the board with supplemental remarks.

 

Dr. Walters will be teaching his first online course this summer and has a plan for how he will give his lessons. He plans to record his lectures and upload them for his students to study alongside the printed material they will have access to. Since the students will have a tougher time asking questions and receiving help, Dr. Walters believes that being successful in an online requires a strong sense of independent learning. The ultimate goal of attending college is gaining the skills to learn on one’s own.

Writing Experience in the Workplace

As was stated earlier, Dr. Walters was surprised to find out how much writing he would be doing as a teacher. He has daily email correspondence between faculty and students about a wide variety of topics such as scheduling classes, upcoming events, or a plea for help from a student. Prior to teaching, Dr. Walters had plenty of experience with email as it had already gained popularity in the 90s. In class he is constantly writing on the board, and being as how he teaches multiple classes a day he gets plenty of practice with his penmanship. Before class, he prepares notes in a notebook that contains all of the information he needs to give his students as well as speaking cues for himself.

 

His professional writing experience includes writing thesis proposals, a dissertation, and a few publications for journals. Dr. Walters’s most difficult form of communication is publications as he has had a paper rejected due to extraneous information and not having the content that the publishers were specifically looking for.

 

When asked what his greatest weakness in his writing process was, he replied that he is often times too lax when it comes to proofreading and editing his work. An occasional typo will slip into an email that will be sent to his colleagues, who will them berate him or respond with edits. Dr. Walters often goes to his colleagues for editing help as well as making sure that the content makes sense and has all of the necessary information. He is constantly working on his proofreading and editing skills so future mistakes can be caught and corrected as necessary.

Dr. Walters after he erased most of the board.

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