Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Semester Break

The new semester is just a couple of weeks away and it is time for me to start gearing up for my classes. So, I am taking inventory of the big news stories to have occurred during the break. Amazingly enough, I think the two biggest stories to hit during the month break are Jamie Lynn Spears becoming pregnant (or announcing her pregnancy) and the fact that Hannah Montana has a body double. It is amazing to me that among the top searches on web search engines is Miley Cyrus.

The question is how can I use them in my classes. I certainly have some ideas. In terms of Miley Cyrus, I plan on using her name when I first start discussing the ethics of public speaking. I always make the point that ethics need to be considered every step of the way. I explain that what is most important is the student can articulate why s/he felt a speech was ethical if others feel it is not. I explain that if they cannot, whether it be in public speaking class or in the ‘real world’ when they have a job, they will be the consequences.

I will look to illustrate that point this semester with Hannah Montana. Had Cyrus been able to explain, immediately, why she used a body double, perhaps apology, or certainly do a better job than she did, perhaps there would not be such a controversy. The fact that Cyrus did not has led to all sorts of problems and it will be interesting to see what effect it has on Hannah Montana.

A second way I can use this is to explain that students can use this as a possible topic for a speech. As a professor, what would be most interesting for me is to hear a student defend the actions of Miley Cyrus and explain that with the busy schedule of Hannah Montana, Cyrus had no choice. Of course there are other ways to work her into a speech as well, but that would be the most intriguing (I think).

Then there is Jamie Lynn Spears. Certainly in terms of speeches, and persuasive speeches, she could easily be used. This past semester I had a couple of students deliver speeches dealing with sex education. I have also had students deliver speeches about abstinence in the past. I can’t help but think these students would have loved to have had a situation like Jamie Lynn Spears’ (not that they wanted her to get pregnant) to help make there point.

Beyond that, possible speeches could include if her show, Zoe 101, should have been cancelled and if Spears’ pregnancy should have had an impact on Mama Spears and the book she was set to realize.

There are other events that have happened over the past few weeks that will work there way into my lectures, but for now, I am already planning ways to work Miley Cyrus and Jamie Lynn Spears into my classes. I am sure I will come up with other possible ways as well.

I look semester breaks as it is a great opportunity to gather new material.