Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Sound Advice for the Classroom

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Sound Advice for the Classroom

Article excerpt

THE LAST WORD: Sound Advice for the Classroom

Today's emphasis on the uses of computer technology and audio-visual materials in the classroom obscures an equally effective, cost-efficient means of communication: sound.

In most classroom settings, the use of sound is paired with visual stimuli. Examples include computers, television, video laser discs, or filmstrips with accompanying soundtracks or narration.

Nevertheless, a back-to-basics approach in the use of sound-only materials provides an important learning tool for both students and instructors, and is a necessary component in well-rounded humanities course offerings -- particularly in courses where multiculturalism is stressed.

The following are suggested ways to use five audio sources in the classroom:

- Music: Courses in social studies, history, or literature/English provide fertile ground for the use of music during class time hours. Instructors may choose to use music representative of a historical period or philosophical point of view in order to emphasize a portion of the lecture.

Music also may be used to usher in the class session so as to create a mood within the classroom conducive to the day's studies. Or it can be used to mark the transition from one topic to the next, or moving from one philosophical point of view to the next.

- Books on Tape: Perhaps the biggest stereotype of books on tape is that they are solely for those with visual problems or people who are simply too lazy to read the assigned text. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Audio-recorded versions of books provide students with an important window on the broad interpretations and revisionist nature of literature. An instructor may ask students about their overall impressions of the tone in which a certain passage is written, then follow up with a portion of an audio cassette in which the author tells the story in his or her own voice.

Instructors of more advanced courses may make use of audio materials to show the politics of revision.

When used in the classroom with specific course objectives in mind, books on tape provide a necessary human dimension to the process of reading and encourage students to read with great care and attention to detail.

- Oral Traditions (Interviews and Oral Histories): Interviews and oral histories provide an added dimension to the study of the use of language in humanities courses. …

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