John Jay College of Criminal Justice (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 5210-5212
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
A conversational style of teaching correctional educational courses at a major criminal justice college is integral to teaching students about correctional education, an important aspect of criminal justice. In a course entitled "Corrections and the Media", students are taught the basics of correctional education, influence of the mass media, the influence of motion pictures, popular television dramas and news reports, the war on crime and junkies, the war on sex offenders, the war on poverty, the importance of crime scene investigations, forensics and junk science, the role of the media and prosecutions, the problems associated with wrongful convictions, the media and the death penalty, and recommendations to reduce wrongful convictions.

Professor engages in a conversational style of teaching to engage the students in the field of correctional education. Through a conversational style of educating, the students claim they retain more information throught this active teaching method than if they are exposed to a lecture style of teaching at the criminal justice college. Students are allowed to ask questions during the class. Students are also encouraged to give their opinions regarding the areas of correctional education, ethics, and media studies during the course. By using the conversational style of teaching, the students and the professor are thoroughly engaged in learning. Over 45 per cent of the students in the course are actively engaged in discussion during the class. The rest of the students are active listeners. Student retention is very high in the course due to the conversational style of teaching. Numerous student evaluations during the last four years at the college validate this premise.

The conversational style of teaching in the course is explained the first day of class. No student is actually called upon to recite any material or to answer any question. Instead, the students are advised that questions that align with the assigned readings and lecture, will be asked until a student or students respond. Invariably, several students respond to every question. The professor believes that conversational style of learning avoids shaming the student by NOT calling on the pupil. The students are encouraged for volunteering their opinions, supplemented by facts, when they speak. Students are advised not to make any racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist or otherwise disriminatory comments during the conversations in class. Students are advised that only one student can talk at one time. This is especially helpful during controversial debates in correctional education when a topic such as the death penalty is discussed.

The March 17, 2010 session of the class "Corrections and the media" has been taped for review, if necessary. A DVD can be made available. A Podcast will also be made of the session. All students signed a release form before they were taped. The Institutional Review Board of the college has approved the taping of the class session. The Center for Teaching and Learning at the College initiated the taping due to the interest in having other professors at the College learn this conversational methods of educating students. In viewing the class session on DVD and by listening to the Podcast, the conversational style of teaching can be viewed for educational purposes. This is an excellent example of new learning technologies exercised by a professor in correctional education.
Innovative teaching, conversational style of teaching, correctional education.