Teaching Communication

Graeme Burton

Richard Dimbleby

This little book is "about" the social science discipline of communication. It is not a textbook for students of communication as it does not describe in detail the specialized areas of human communication and it does not espouse a particular point of view.

This book is for teachers, teachers of communication that would appreciate an overview of what is described today as the "Social Science discipline of Communication Studies." It is for teachers who will teach communication for the first time, whether they are new to teaching, or who have taught for many years and are moving to communications from some other discipline. This book may also be of interest to those who do not teach communication but are in the communication business, e.g., human resource development, personnel training and professional development.

Graeme Burton & Richard Dimbleby are experienced teachers of communication in the British college system and include a chapter on communication syllabuses in secondary and post-secondary institutions in that system. The syllabus descriptions, although not directly applicable to North American systems, are useful as a framework for purposes of contrast and comparison.

Following a brief first chapter of justification for studying communication, the authors describe four categories of communication skills: intellectual, functional, interpersonal, and group. This is followed by five categories of communication: intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, mass, and extrapersonal. The categories of skills and communications are dealt with in sufficient detail to give the reader with some experience in the field an overall view. This section includes six charts which describe the relationship between elements of the various categories. These "models" of communication would be very useful in an introductory course in communication.

The second chapter entitled, "What Does One Teach," is the highlight of the book. It is a brief but well written survey of communication. Dealt with clearly and in sufficient detail are: theory, forms, interpersonal, group and mass communication. It concludes with model introductory course plans.

Chapter three, "How Does One Teach," brings together well-known teaching strategies with the presentation of communication content. Case studies, multi-task assignments, simulations, role plays, individual, and group assignments are applied to the task of teaching communication. To do this in summary successfully is a major task and this book's greatest weakness. For example, in the section on video cameras and recording, several paragraphs are devoted to technical instructions for operating the equipment. Manuals that accompany the equipment do a better job. What equipment manuals do not do is describe the planning and organizing of a video production and neither does this book.

Chapter four, "Teaching Materials," describes a number of good ideas for organizing, planning and designing teaching materials such as problems for discussion, case studies, interpersonal role plays and group projects. It concludes with a library list of Dewey classification numbers of communication books.

The syllabuses of communication and media studies of eight British institutions, ranging from secondary school to university comprise chapter five. More sources of books and resources of communication information are presented in chapter six, followed by a list of British institutions which offer courses in communication in the final chapter.

For teachers of communication, the book is well organized, well written and recommended for those who need a quick and easy shelf reference for communication and media studies.



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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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