Posts by heatherhillnwtc

On Course Principles To Teach Outlining

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking.  There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions.  Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

We’ve all experienced it – students that want us to just give them the answer.  In addition, most of us thrive and relish in sharing our knowledge through our lectures.  However, we also realize that this doesn’t always equate in learning.

One area that my speech students often lose unnecessary points is on their speech outlines.   Despite explaining the expectations, showing examples and conducting peer reviews, I continue to get outlines that don’t meet all of the criteria.  To address this, I integrated some On Course principals into my lesson on outlining.  These same techniques could be integrated into just about any lesson plan in any subject.

Rather than just explain to the students how to construct an outline, I put them in groups and provided them with an example, a template, and a grading rubric. I then directed them to develop an outline for a 2-3 minute speech on effective study habits.  When time was up, I “graded” the first one on the overhead, walking the class through what I was looking for.  I then involved them with the grading of the other outlines.

First, I was impressed by the discussions I heard regarding effective study habits.  Many discussed their challenges as students and shared their tips for success.  This was a side bonus.  Second, despite the fact that I didn’t “teach” outlining, the quality of the outlines were good; the lowest “grade” was a solid C (I often give F’s on the first outline).  This illustrated to me that they understood the criteria of the assignment.  I also used this as an opportunity to challenge them all to do better on the actual assignment.  Finally, they had fun doing the activity.