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Erik Palmer is an educational consultant based in Denver, Colorado. He didn't start out as an educational consultant, however. Erik left law school and entered the commodity brokerage business. He managed a retail brokerage firm, ultimately incorporated a trading company, and took it public. He bought a seat on the floor of the Mid-America Commodity Exchange in Chicago and spent some time as a floor broker. "All of those ventures required strong verbal skills, and those experiences solidified my belief in the need to develop speaking skills," Erik explains.
When his children were born, Erik left the brokerage world and entered the education world, but he took with him the belief that education has to be relevant well beyond the classroom. "How much of what we teach will be forgotten or discarded once students leave school?" As a teacher he constantly challenged lessons being taught that did not have real-world relevance, and he sought to keep his teaching current and significant. In all subject areas he taught, he emphasized the importance of speaking well because he saw the positive impact it had in his classroom and because it is a life-long skill. "When I had opportunities to use new technologies available in the classroom, I embraced them," says Erik. "They helped me connect to the students, increase 'with-it-ness,' foster relevance, and improve instruction. Now as a consultant, I work with teachers to share the successes I have had in those areas."
Erik received his bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and his master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado. He was a classroom teacher for twenty-one years before becoming a consultant. His areas of specialty include improving oral communication and updating instruction to incorporate twenty-first-century tools.
In his free time, Erik plays baseball and likes to ride his bike. He has two sons and three step-children. His wife teaches fourth grade.
All teachers at all grade levels in all subjects have speaking assignments for students, but many teachers believe they don’t know how to teach speaking, and many even fear public speaking themselves. In his book, Well Spoken: Teaching Speaking to All Students, veteran teacher and education consultant Erik Palmer shares the art of teaching speaking in any classroom. Teachers will find thoughtful and engaging strategies for integrating speaking skills throughout the curriculum. Palmer stresses the essential elements of all effective oral communication, including:
• Building a Speech: Audience, Content, Organization, Visual Aids, and Appearance • Performing a Speech: Poise, Voice, Life, Eye Contact, Gestures, and Speed • Evaluating a Speech: Creating Effective Rubrics, Guiding Students to Excellence
Well Spoken contains a framework for understanding the skills involved in all effective oral communication, offers practical steps and lesson ideas that any teacher needs to successfully teach speaking in a variety of situations—from classroom discussions to formal presentations—and includes a set of tools for students—from how to grab the audience’s attention to how to use emphatic hand gestures and adjust speed for effect.
Discover why, year after year, students returned to Palmer’s classroom to thank him for teaching them how to be well spoken. You may find, after reading this book, that you have become a better speaker, too.
Our daily communication involves argumentation and reasoning, but how well do we prepare students for these tasks? Are they able to persuade others, make solid purchasing decisions, or analyze the messages in the media?
In his new book, Good Thinking: Teaching Argument, Persuasion, and Reasoning, Erik Palmer shows teachers of all subject matters how to transform the activities they already use into openings for improving student thinking. He demonstrates how to critically evaluate a point of view, understand rhetorical devises, apply logic, and build an effective argument, written or oral.
Blending theory with practice, Palmer shares a wide range of classroom-tested lessons, including:
How to understand argument in paintings and images
Addressing ad hominem attacks using a traveling debate
Creating a class comedy club, where students write syllogisms and analyze character and plot development
Teaching logic through a class “Booger Patrol”
Palmer explains complex concepts in simple, practical language that gives teachers a deft understanding of the principles of good arguments, proper use of evidence, persuasive techniques, and rhetorical tricks. He reveals how all students, not just those in advanced classes, can begin developing sophisticated reasoning skills that will improve their oral and written communications, both in and outside of the classroom.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion