listening to “listen”

“i have been liberated!”

this was a silent personal battle cry when i was taken in as a college professor in san beda college alabang last year (see related story at ).
with an 18-year experience in the basic education, i felt it’s about time that i should upgrade myself and look for more challenges in my chosen profession. the tertiary level was the best arena that waited for me. here, i soared high again as an english teacher, enjoying the academic freedom that was once suppressed. thus,  when i was given speech communication as one of the subjects that i would be teaching, i wholeheartedly accepted it. this was the very course that was taught by a former college professor, who has become my perennial inspiration and with fate’s will, has become my thesis adviser after handling me in three subjects in my graduate studies.
this academic year 2012-2013, second semester, my passion in teaching EN 103 has continuously intensified. every session with my students is something to look forward to. i have to rock my brains (even if it hurts sometimes!) just to be able to come up with very challenging activities which they are sure to enjoy and learn from.
today, i have again proven how vital it is to put your heart in whatever you do and channel the positive energy to everyone you encounter daily.
reporting excitedly to witness my students’ practicum which serves as their long test,  i expected no room for mediocrity in my class.  i had done the necessary mind-conditioning for the activity. declaring it as an inter-group competition that would give them a possible exemption from my written midterm come second week of january 2013, i knew i had ruffled their competitive spirit.
so what was the task at hand?
after discussing the module on listening i had to  challenge their creativity via the song “listen” by beyonce. i instructed them to perform the song changing the melody to their original composition. i required costumes (with a “NO buying” policy), make-up, and minimal props. of course, they were expected to do choreography in their presentation. in this requirement, i had to integrate three more disciplines — music, physical education, and theater arts. the pressure fell on the very limited time to plan and practice. they were only given a day (this can never be done in the grade school!) plus an hour before the final performance.
it varied, but majority did a wonderful job. one group emerged as the BEST among the performers in my four classes. they called themselves the BBS (bad boys society). ralph, luigi, jaime, vince, third, emmanuel, jm, ken, jr, and ram showed to everyone what teamwork, natural talent, originality, and fun are all about. i did not think twice in giving all of them a perfect score. a feat indeed for they were the only group that garnered this rating because of their impressive delivery.
formal pose with the BBS of BSA-1A
formal pose with the BBS of BSA-1A
clowning with the BEST
clowning with the BEST
we were like watching professional performers making us clap and stomp our feet to their beat.  oh, boy! they sure could give beyonce a run for her money with their “copyrighted” melody of this award-winning song.
i had a great time watching them. they all had a great time while doing the activity and so with the others (sad to say, only two sections had their documentation). 
not everyone though could be judged as the BEST and be exempted. i was strict with my criteria.
wj and the fourth group of her BSA-1A class
wj and the fourth group of her BSA-1A class
the james bond girls of BSA-1A
the james bond girls of BSA-1A
the copycats of pussycat dolls (BSA-1C) with the MAU
the copycats of pussycat dolls (BSA-1C) with the MAU
with the BSA-1C all-male contenders in my 1:30 p.m. class
with the BSA-1C all-male contenders in my 1:30 p.m. class
so, you might be wondering.  what is the relevance of this practicum to the lessons on listening?
again, simple.
from the time they all brainstormed for their presentation down to the final output, they applied the listening skill. failure to focus entirely on the content of the message and the underlying emotions of the message being channeled by a co-member would lead to wrong interpretation. i expected an application of what we talked about in the classroom. i don’t have to let them memorize terminologies and principles on listening without really digesting the  function of these things in their life as communicators.
in my 18-student marketing management class (where a mature kind of presentation was shown and where everyone was exempted), i asked two students how they found the activity.
“it shook off my shyness,” said a he.
“i enjoyed it a lot,” expressed a she.
this is what i want my college students to achieve: overcome that shyness, build that self-confidence, express themselves freely, and enjoy the result.

this is the very essence of a speech communication class teacher.

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