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Section Name

The Basic Course Forum

Abstract

The basic argument being advanced is that civility ought to be a fundamental or central concern and guiding principle in our basic and introductory courses. Like the more common standards of effectiveness and appropriateness, civility ought to become one of the key standards by which we judge the quality of communication, and consequently ought to become a central learning outcome and a more significant focus in our teaching and research. Specifically, students should leave our basic interpersonal, public speaking, and business and professional speaking courses with an understanding of and appreciation for how an attitude of civility can positively influence their communication effectiveness, and gain context-specific experience in translating civil attitudes into communication behaviors. Examples of more specific learning outcomes will be describe for interpersonal, business and professional, and public speaking contexts. Therefore the first part of this essay will briefly outline the “case” for civility as a central learning outcome, while the second part will provide a very selective look at the available literature that can inform the inclusion and infusion of civility into our courses followed by sample student learning outcomes for each course.