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English Communication for Scientists 
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Unit 6:  Communicating in the Classroom

For centuries, the typical communication in the classroom has been lecturing: The one who owns the knowledge (the instructor) is supposed to give it to those who do not (the students), like someone pours liquid into empty glasses. This approach focuses on the activity of the instructor (is he or she covering all the material?). Students are tested on their ability to regurgitate what the instructor said.

Learning, however, requires an active step on the part of the students and is best measured by what these students are able to do with the material (the so-called "learning outcomes"). In this view, the activity of the students is more important than that of the instructor: Learning results from the interaction between the students and the material to be learned — an interaction the instructor can catalyze.

This unit will help you prepare for, run, and evaluate effective classroom sessions as part of a course. It will help you define learning outcomes and design learning activities, create a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to student activity and encourage this activity in all possible ways, reveal the structure of the course to the students, and evaluate your performance as an instructor. It also provides tips on managing large groups.

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