Performing the lesson


Lance Lockwood is a busy man, commuting between two campuses, carrying a full teaching load, and writing a textbook. Add his recent performance of A Night With Abraham Lincoln and you might say you have a day in the life of this Santa Ana College professor.

The theatrical dialogue earlier this month was a collaborative effort with Chapman University communications professor Richard Doetkott. It aimed to clear up common misconceptions about the Gettysburg Address, including the fact that Lincoln himself only spoke for a few minutes and that the “bulk of the address was spoken by Edward Everett; Lincoln only gave what were later called ‘a few appropriate words,’” Lockwood said.

The performance, which coincided with the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, reflects Lockwood’s teaching style and his views on communication.

He teaches Argumentation and Debate, Public Speaking, and Interpersonal Communication here at SAC, and one upper-division course on Gender Communication at Chapman University.

With close to 200 students during any given semester, Lockwood focuses on the differences between oral and written communication.

“Not to devalue written communication,” Lockwood says, “but sometimes people would rather listen than read.”

That’s what makes something like A Night With Abraham Lincoln so powerful. Lockwood and Doetkott drew on influences from as long ago as Socrates and as modern as today’s media to show the power of oration.

As a teacher, Lockwood strives to break through the fears many students have about public speaking. The “mascot” for each of his classes, a Mickey Mouse figurine, sits on a shelf in his office. Mickey was chosen because “he’s short, his voice is high-pitched, but he still gets up there and speaks anyway,” Lockwood said.

Lockwood knew he wanted to teach from a young age. Growing up in Hesperia, Calif., Lockwood recalls that his eighth grade English teacher was so awful Lockwood began to analyze all of his teachers and soon realized that he could do better.

He later went on to study Speech and Communications at Chapman University for both his undergraduate and graduate studies, then took a position at Santa Ana College, where he works full time. This semester is Lockwood’s last at Chapman.

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He said his time at Chapman was valuable to him. Since he taught an upper-division course, he could show his students here at SAC that they can make it at the next level.

Speaking of the next level, Lockwood has recently put his oralist methods into writing. His first textbook, Introduction to Public Conversing, is a written compilation of his approach to teaching and speaking.

Written together with Doetkott, Lockwood said he is looking forward to using it in his classes this fall. “You usually get two years to write a textbook,” explained Lockwood. “We were asked to complete it in nine months.”

If 200 students isn’t enough to handle, the stress of condensing two years of work into nine months might seem immense. “Not really. Like any of us, my workday doesn’t end when I go home,” he says. He still manages to find time to take a “moment,” as he calls it.

“I’m a gym rat,” he says, “and I do quite a bit of travel.”

So what’s next for Lockwood? A performance about George Washington’s infamous teeth? Or possibly space travel? “I would have loved to have been the first college professor in space,” Lockwood said, “but that’s already been done.” You can be sure that he will stay busy discovering and innovating.

Portrait of Professor Lance Lockwood relaxing and during his performance on stage

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