TH105 Oral Communication

for SP 2005

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

CourseTH 105 Oral Communication HO
FacultyPeak, Mari J.
TitleAdjunct Faculty
Degrees/CertificatesMFA Acting, University of Illinois 1988
BA  Theatre, Pre-law, Kansas State University 1983
Office LocationTheatre Department, Alumni Hall
Office HoursBy appointment
Daytime Phone816-891-8606 (preferred number)
Other Phone816-584-6450 Theatre Department
Web Page
Semester DatesJanuary 10 - May 6, 2005
Class Days--T-R--
Class Time1:00 - 2:15 PM
Credit Hours3

Gamble, Teri and Michael Gamble. "Oral Interpretation: Bringing Literature to Life Through Performance," Columbus: Glencoe/McGraw Hill, 2002.  ISBN: 0-8442-1740-9

Textbooks can be purchased though the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

A. You are encouraged to bring a bottle of water to class.  

B. Dress:  You are going to move around a lot.  You will also acquire an intimate working relationship with the floor (and it may not always be exceptionally clean.)  

Wear soft-soled shoes clothing you can move freely in.
acceptable:  sweats, loose jeans, leotards/tights, tennis/athletic shoes, bare feet

Absolutely not permitted:  chewing gum, caps, hats, excessive jewelry, hard-soled shoes or heels, dresses, skirts, tight-fitting clothes

Performance days:  Elaborate costumes are not necessary, but choose clothing appropriate to your understanding of the character or situation you are presenting.  ("Dress for success.")

Course Description:
A study of the basic skills in breathing, vocal control, diction, and articulation as applied to the public presentation of the following literary forms:  poetry, prose, drama, reader's theatre and choral reading.  Selections used as performance options include authors from a wide variety of ethnic and national origins.  Open to all students.  1:2:3

Educational Philosophy:
The instructor's educational philosophy is one of total intellectual, physical, & emotional engagement in an interactive learning process.

Learning Outcomes:
On completion of the course, students should have accomplished:

1. an understanding and working knowledge of the basic mechanical skills of breath control, relaxation, placement, diction, enunciation, and projection required for effective vocal communication

2. a heightened sensitivity of the student's ear to enable the student to detect and reproduce subtleties in vocal inflection, pitch, rhythm, dialect, etc.

3. a greater awareness of physical self-presentation and impression on an audience and to therefore gain greater control over the effect of the presentation on that audience.

4. an increased understanding of various literary styles (poetry, prose, drama, etc.) and the varying possibilities in interpreting these styles for presentation to an audience

5. increased skills in creating written narrative material to effectively introduce and bridge the above material during formal presentations.  

6. increased ability to transfer the above physical, vocal, and mental skills to such everyday situations as job interviews, etc.

7. an increased appreciation of the art of theatre and the craft of the actor, which is central to the theatre experience.


The Oral Communication course additional strives to provide a viable experimental learning opportunity which utilizes basic aesthetic, critical, values, civic and scientific literacies to explore a broad range of perspectives and insights on the process of acting (and inter-acting) on stage as well as in everyday life as detailed through the following literacies:

A.  Aesthetic:
   1.  To provide an experiential learning forum in which the student may gain mastery and
confidence in the basics of presentation-appropriate vocal delivery and accompanying physical expression.
   2. To nurture the imagination and other creative forces within the student actor/presenter,
thereby providing the student with a comprehension of the nature and meaning of the theatrical experience as both an observer and a participant.

   B.  Critical:  The German philosopher Goethe identified three criteria to be used in
evaluating the significance and level of excellence of a work of art:  
   1. What was it trying to do?  (This refers to the original goal prompting the initial
   2. How well was it done?  (How was progress toward the goal broken into workable
steps, and how effective were these steps in moving the action toward the goal?)  
   3.  Was it worth doing?  (This step takes the critical thinking process and moves it into
issues of values clarification based on past individual experiences.)  These criteria can be used to determine the effectiveness of any choice for action taken by any individual or group at any given time.  We will be asking these questions on a daily basis as we work together through daily exercises, in-class journal responses and discussions, and formal written critiques (more specifically outlined below.)

C.  Values:  Any performance course grounded in work from available world literature must,
of necessity, confront the moral choices inherent in the decision-making process presented by various authors.  The performance nature of an acting course provides an immediate venue for viewing both the choices made and the possible consequences of these choices as well as offering the opportunity for exploring action alternatives, thereby providing strong experiential object-lesson training.

D.  Civic:
   1.  The course emphasizes the individual and celebrates the unique nature of that
individual.  We discuss our differences and similarities in an atmosphere of mutual respect and affirmation.  Each class session is a microcosmic experiment in exploring action alternatives in a world community--hopefully creating a model for a more world-community minded planet.
   2.  The course also, by extension of the emphasis on exposure to a diversity of individual
experiences, will foster greater understanding and appreciation of the cultural and global diversity in our current and future society.
   3.  Any positive exposure to the arts provides encouragement to those exposed to seek
out more such exposure on their own, thereby providing the increased support for the arts necessary to any stable and responsible citizenry.

    E.  Scientific:  The actor's primary instrument is his/her body.   Therefore, acting courses
require extensive training in movement.  For movement to be effective in this context, it is necessary to spend a good deal of time discussing the basic anatomical structure of the body, the breathing process, bio-feedback awareness for both increased mental focus and controlled relaxation, etc.  Awaking student interest in the inner workings of their own bodies in an experiential setting provides encouragement for the extended exploration of these processes in more scientifically-specific settings.

Course Assessment:

Learning objectives will be achieved through the following teaching techniques:

1. In-class projects and performances (all video-taped)
2. Lecture
3. Guided group discussion pertaining to performances viewed
4. Student Journal (to be collected 4 times throughout the  course)
5. Two (2)formal written critiques on Park theatre productions
6.  One (1) final project (combined written and performed)
7.  Physical & vocal exercises
8.  Individual coaching sessions
9.  Group performances & discussions
10. Peer and instructor evaluations

20%  Daily attendance/punctuality
20%  Daily activity and discussion (quality of voluntary participation and attitude)
20%  Classroom performances:  degree of professionalism displayed in both rehearsal preparation and performance
20%  Quality of written classroom assignments and formal papers
20%  Quality and preparation of public performance final

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Performances, papers, etc., are due on dates as assigned.  Papers/presentations/performances/etc. presented after the assigned class session (except in cases of extreme circumstance AND advance notice) will receive one grade lower for each succeeding class session.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Cooperative Participation:  
All students will participate as fully as physically possible in all in-class activities.
Positive and Respectful Attitude/Behavior:  All students are expected to exhibit a mature
and supportive attitude at all times during class.  Examples of negative or inappropriate attitude or behavior include:
a.  derogatory or sarcastic comments regarding individual performances or discussions.
b.  whispered conversations during individual performances or discussions
c.  excessive rattling of papers and materials during individual performances or
d.  entering or exiting the classroom during individual performances
e.  inappropriate eye-rolling or snickering in response to individual performances or
f.  excessive off-the-topic verbal interruptions or discussion domination
g.  See the Park University Undergraduate Catalogue 2003-2004 for further
information regarding appropriate student conduct.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
The following dates given for text work/performance sessions are intended as a guideline and may modify based on numbers and needs of students enrolled.  Dates and assignments are therefore subject to change with a minimum of 48 hours notice.

1/11 Introduction to the course
1/13 Baseline performances
1/18    The Actor's Voice, Part I
1/20 The Actor's Voice, Part II
       Physical and vocal exercises  

Making Literature Come Alive: The Performer's Resources
1/25    Chapter 1
1/27,   Chapter 2
2/1     DUE:  Journal #1
       Chapter 3

Exploring Literary Worlds
2/3     Chapter 4  Descriptive Prose
2/8     Chapter 5  Narrative Prose
2/10    Chapter 6  Dramatic Literature
2/15    Chapter 6  Dramatic Literature
2/17    Chapter 6  Dramatic Literature
2/18    "A Streetcar Named Desire" David Theater    
2/19    "A Streetcar Named Desire" David Theater
2/22    Chapter 7  Poetry
2/24    Chapter 7  Poetry
2/25    "A Streetcar Named Desire" David Theater    
2/26    "A Streetcar Named Desire" David Theater
3/1     DUE: Paper and discussion, "Streetcar"

Widening the Art of Interpretation
3/3     DUE: Journal #2
       Chapter 8  Performing Literature for Children
3/15    Chapter 8, Performing Literature for Children
3/17    Chapter 8, Performing Literature for Children
       DUE: Journal #3
3/22    Chapter 9, Literature from Around the World
3/24    Chapter 10, Using Documentary Material
3/29    Chapter 11, Ensemble Approaches
3/31    Chapter 12, Approaches to Organizing a Program
4/5     Rehearsal/performance
4/7     Rehearsal/performance
4/12    DUE: JOURNAL #4
4/14    Rehearsal/performance
       "In Death" 7:30 Studio Theatre, Alumni Hall
4/15    "In Death" 7:30 Studio Theatre, Alumni Hall
4/16    "In Death" 7:30 Studio Theatre, Alumni Hall
4/19    DUE: Paper, discussion, "In Death"
4/21    Individual Rehearsal/performance
4/26    Individual Rehearsal/performance
4/28    Individual Rehearsal/performance
       Last Day of Class  

5/?     Date to be announced. Open Final Presentations

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.  
Park University 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog
Page 101

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. <a href="">
Park University 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog</a> Page 101

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog Page 100
INSTRUCTOR'S ADDITIONAL ATTENDANCE POLICIES:  This is an interactive participation class which requires your daily presence and involvement accompanied by a positive attitude and accompanying behavior.  Therefore, ONLY TWO ABSENCES WILL BE ALLOWED before the attendance portion of the semester grade begins to drop one letter grade per day missed.  Class will begin precisely at the given time.  3 LATE ARRIVALS CONSTITUTE AN ABSENCE.

Each student athlete is responsible for providing:
--a schedule of anticipated games by the end of the first week of class
--written notification of intent to miss class for sports participation each time a class will be missed.  
--This notification must be signed by both the student athlete and the supervising coach and must be delivered to the instructor no later than 24 hours before the beginning time of the class that will be missed.
--submission of all written assignments due on the day that will be missed by 24 hours in advance of the day that will be missed.
Recommendation:  If you are going to miss more than two classes due to sports event participation, consider taking another class.
NOTE#2:  All students are personally responsible for everything missed on the day/s
they are absent.  This includes making up lost work, getting assignments for upcoming classes, etc.

Disability Guidelines:

Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all learners that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to learners concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding learners with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page:
Instructor's Note on Physical Impairments:  This class will include various movement exercises. If you have any physical restrictions that will impede your range of motion, please notify me as soon as possible and supply me with a doctor's statement detailing the extent of your restrictions.  I will accomodate your situation and find an appropriate way for you to achieve that day's objectives.

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