Which is better? – Professors at Columbia University debate
Columbia University has been criticized for offering “passive acceptance” to “passivity” in speech and writing, and even for not offering a formal policy of “passivism.”
But as students and professors at Columbia and other elite universities around the country take their own course on speech and speech design, some are suggesting that it is actually a better course of study than the more traditional, “passionate” and “passimistic” approach that has dominated the field for decades.
The first class of Columbia students will study how to write a persuasive speech to an audience of 100 or more, said Emily Cottreau, a graduate student in speech-language pathology and communication and a member of the Columbia faculty.
In the class, students will discuss “the best ways to talk about something in a way that people can relate to,” Cotterson said.
The class is part of a larger initiative at Columbia to provide students with an “idealized” curriculum for speech and written communication, said Mark Hirsch, a professor of speech-vocational and communication at Columbia who leads the group.
The class is designed to be more accessible, he said, than the typical course that focuses on the spoken language.
Students will learn about “the fundamentals of persuasive writing” and how to “use language in ways that can make you more effective,” said Michael Cressey, a speech-professionals major and a senior in the class.
The students will learn that a good speaker is able to “build a more powerful, engaging narrative that people will want to listen to, said Cresys.
The course will also focus on “how to use language in the context of an audience that wants to listen, rather than in the expectation that people are going to want to hear it,” said Cottreas’ colleague Rachel Lehner, a first-year speech-speaking major.
Students also will be asked to learn how to develop a narrative for their presentation, which can include a description of how the topic is discussed and the ways in which it is used.
Students have the option of taking the class while they are enrolled in their courses, or if they already have a thesis. “
It’s not just the words that are important, but the way in which they are used, how you use them, and the way you build on the language,” Lehner said.
Students have the option of taking the class while they are enrolled in their courses, or if they already have a thesis.
Students can also opt to take it as a non-credit class, but their academic standing is not guaranteed.
The Columbia project is part a larger effort to “reinvigorate the field of speech and language pathology,” said Jonathan H. Levin, professor of psychology and director of the Speech-Language Pathology Research Lab at Columbia.
The lab offers research on speech communication, and is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The lab has long offered courses that are more like a graduate-level course than a class taught in-class.
Levin said students will also get an “academic-based learning experience,” as opposed to a “seminar,” which is an in-person, on-campus class that has typically been offered by other universities.
“I think there’s a very strong sense that the humanities is a little bit more rigorous, the social sciences are a little more rigorous,” Levin said.
In addition to the lecture and lab, students are learning “to think more about what they’re talking about in their writing,” Levin added.
“What’s important is that they’re doing it in a realistic way, so they’re able to talk with a real audience about it.
And I think that’s what this class is going to be about.”
While the class is being taught at Columbia, students and faculty have been working to develop an online version of the course that will be available to the public.
The course will be taught by faculty from other schools and institutions, and it will be free for students to take, Levin said, adding that the project has received funding from the Office of Naval Research.
In the meantime, Levin and his colleagues will be working to find a way to allow the class to be taught at other schools, but for now, the online version will be offered at Columbia instead of a traditional, online class.
Cottreau said that while the online course will provide students the opportunity to take their writing and speech “in a more realistic and more engaging way,” it won’t necessarily be more “passivist” than traditional classes.
Students and professors will learn how “to talk about things in a manner that people want to relate to, not just in expectation that they will want it to be said,” she said.
“We will talk about what makes it important for people to listen and what makes that experience memorable.”
The class, called “Speech in a World,” will also be offered by the university’s Graduate School of Communication and Journalism.
It will begin