January 20, 2018

Blog Posts by Ellen Bremen, The Chatty Professor

Ellen Bremen is tenured faculty at Highline Community College and the author of Say This, NOT That to Your Professor: 36 Talking Tips for College Success (NorLights Press, April 2012). Ellen stops at nothing to help students strengthen their communication skills: Peanut butter and jelly to illustrate problematic messages, pipe cleaners to teach communication models, and Post-it notes to reduce speaking anxiety. Ellen holds degrees in Post-Secondary Education and Communication.

As an interpersonal communication expert, Ellen has watched students struggle to navigate their classes, especially their communication with professors. Ellen's goal? To help students correctly--not cluelessly--speak/deal with those who teach them. The outcome? Better student-prof relationships, improved grades, and confident and competent communication skills for college and beyond. Ellen's philosophy: College is THE safe training ground for students to practice and hone assertive and professional communication skills. Then, students can transition this sought-after skill to their professional and personal lives.

Ellen looks forward to answering students' simple and complex questions about communication in college, and particularly professor-related challenges.

About Ellen Bremen

Ellen Bremen is tenured faculty at Highline Community College and the author of Say This, NOT That to Your Professor: 36 Talking Tips for College Success (NorLights Press, April 2012). Ellen stops at nothing to help students strengthen their communication skills: Peanut butter and jelly to illustrate problematic messages, pipe cleaners to teach communication models, and Post-it notes to reduce speaking anxiety. Ellen holds degrees in Post-Secondary Education and Communication.

As an interpersonal communication expert, Ellen has watched students struggle to navigate their classes, especially their communication with professors. Ellen's goal? To help students correctly--not cluelessly--speak/deal with those who teach them. The outcome? Better student-prof relationships, improved grades, and confident and competent communication skills for college and beyond. Ellen's philosophy: College is THE safe training ground for students to practice and hone assertive and professional communication skills. Then, students can transition this sought-after skill to their professional and personal lives.

Ellen looks forward to answering students' simple and complex questions about communication in college, and particularly professor-related challenges.

Five Must Do’s Before You Leave Summer School (Includes Grade-Saving Advice!)

A gigantic bravo to you if you are reading this post and nearing the end of your summer term. Going to school in the summer is awesome and challenging all at the same time. The awesome? You racked up some additional credits. The challenging? You had to miss some hours of sunshine, pool or beach in order to achieve those credits. Now you’re nearing the end and hopefully you have a little time off before fall term. Before you do a college check-out for a few weeks, here are five things to do … [Read more...]

How Do I Get Better Grades on Discussion Forum Posts?

How many of you out there take classes that require discussion forum posts and responses? Maybe you feel like this student: You think you've done well and then find out that your writing wasn’t strong enough. Dear Chatty Professor, I “beef up” my discussion forum responses as the professor asks, but still not receiving full points. Do you have any additional tips? I definitely have tips! 1. First, ask the prof, “Professor, do you have a sample of what you consider to be an ideal post? It … [Read more...]

Are You “Shoulding On” Other People? Are Others “Shoulding” On You?

A little break from the student/professor dynamic and into a little communication strategy! This is a favorite lesson/discussion from my Interpersonal class. Useful for in college and out! I have a confession to make. I'm a worrier. At times, when I tell others about what is worrying me, depending on what I'm sharing, the well-intentioned response is: -"You shouldn't feel that way" or -"You shouldn't be concerned about that." The tone around the phrase is not condescending, … [Read more...]

Putting Your Term on “Pause”: How to Talk to Your Prof About an Incomplete

My father unexpectedly died just three weeks before I finished a fall semester at my former community college. Instead of finding out what my options were, I simply stopped going to classes and I ultimately failed those classes. Had I gone to see my profs, I could have learned that there may have been another option available for me: The “Incomplete” or “I” grade. What's an Incomplete? I'll give you an example: Let's say you are watching a movie on your DVR or on a Netflix … [Read more...]

What to Say About That Retake

  Hello, Campus Talk Blog community! I am a seasoned professor of over 13 years and an award-winning educator and public speaker. And here I am starting my first blog post by piggybacking on another blog post. That’s right: One that’s been written by somebody else! Let me explain: When I received the opportunity to join Campus Talk Blog, I, of course, looked at the articles already written. When I came across Reconnect After Your Exam to Make Up for Lost Ground from Tawan Perry, I was … [Read more...]

5 No-apology tips for non-traditional students

I was one and maybe you are, too: A student who is 30, 40, 50, and even 60 and beyond! Like many non-trad students, I did not intend to be “older” in college. But my parents, who were not college educated, did not make provisions for my education. After losing a parent early, my life took a different vocational path for many years until I decided that I wanted to teach. Because I relate so intimately to non-traditional students, I thought about what communication lessons relate … [Read more...]

Tutor your way into work experience and the job market!

Here is a student question I received in person at the end of one of my “Chatty Professor” college presentations: "I'm in an Intermediate Calculus class and am acing it. I feel like going to class isn't worth it. I could just go on test days and be fine. I talked to the instructor and he sort of said that would be okay. My mom does not think it's okay. What do I do to make my mom happy, but not have to sit through a class where I already know what's going on?" Now, I get that many students … [Read more...]

Do you have to sound brilliant in order to speak out in class?

Do you sit in class and worry about whether you should or shouldn’t speak up? Do you try to get your words just right in your mind before you’ll raise your hand? Then, by the time you’re ready to speak, the class has moved on to something else and you’ve lost your confidence? It’s not a surprise that as a student, you are expected to add to classroom discussions, to assert your ideas/opinions/thoughts in a respectful way... to contribute to a shared, rich learning community. You are expected … [Read more...]

‘Like’ is awesome on Facebook – but not a criteria for grading

Let's talk about two different students: Student A and Student B. (I know, you are blown away by my creativity in characterization!) Student A came to my office all the time, frequently stayed after class to chat, shared career goals, family background, etc. We had a very good relationship; our conversations were always engaging and enjoyable. Student A started strong: Early submissions for me to review. Excellent grades. Later in the term? Student A's proactiveness fell off. Life apparently … [Read more...]

Boost Your Marketability from the Second You Step on Campus

As this blog post comes out, we are getting deeper into summer and your first days of college are still the furthest thing from your mind. So, I’ll save some student-prof talk for when we are closer to that time. For now, I’m going to ask you to start thinking about your future career—and I’m going to give you a job to do this summer: (Yes, I know you are covered in sunblock, sitting under an umbrella the size of a satellite dish, and enjoying a magazine that you haven’t been able to read … [Read more...]

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