Sunday, July 29, 2012


This week, I'm asked to discuss some conflicts and strategies that help me manage or resolve the conflicts. I've got a great example. At the beginning of each new school year, my co-workers and I go through each child's folder. One thing we look at is the child's preferred name. The child could go by his middle name or even have a nickname. My co-workers and I view this very differently. I believe if the child goes by A.J. then in class he should be called A.J. It is what he is used to--it's his first school experience and we want the child to feel secure in class. My co-workers believe this is harmful and want to use the name Adam (first name). They want him to know his first name--without the nickname. I understand he will need to learn to spell his name--but before we get to that point lets call him something he's familiar with. Regardless, I usually do not battle this decision--just give my opinion. I let them know how I feel--we do this every year! This year I decided to use the 3 r's we have learned about: respectful, reciprocal, responsive. I listen to their reasoning--it appears it may be a cultural difference. I listen with my full attention without becoming defensive to our new students and their preferred names. I reciprocate their feelings--I give and take-- and then I respond. I respond with why I feel strongly about this. I express my concerns of a child not knowing his full name--only his preferred name. I explain that this child may need the comfort of hearing his preferred name. I am met with defensiveness and reasons why this is wrong, but I stand firm in my opinion. Sure, we may differ on the opinion of this, but I have learned that by following the 3 r's I don't feel personally hurt by their decision. (I don't know why I take it personally :).

This class is really help me become a better communicator! I can see great change in my communication styles!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rebekah, the Communicator

This week, we were assigned the task of taking several self-report tests. We then had to get two other individuals to take the tests and answer the questions based on how they perceive us. I was on a family vacation so the two individuals I chose to answer the questions were family members. I was surprised at how well they knew me! My answers and their answers were very similar--our scores too. One test I took was a verbal aggressiveness scale. Going into the test, I assumed my verbal aggressiveness scale would be low or non-existent. I was wrong! Both myself and my family rated me as having moderate verbal aggressiveness. I guess I am more outspoken then I thought! What did not surprise me were the results I got for my listening style profile. I enjoy listening and talking to people. I have a hard time interrupting their thoughts--even if my time is limited. The listening style scale said I belong to Group 1 which is....people-oriented! This was a great test and after a nice summer (with several vacations) I start back to work tomorrow. I am going to share these scales with my co-workers! I want to see if they know me as well as my family knows me :).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Communication and Cultural Diversity

So far, I have gained a lot of knowledge when it comes to communication. I am only in week three, but feel I have gotten a great introduction to the world of communication. I did not think I would enjoy this course--I am somewhat shy and communicating with others is a work in progress--but I am really enjoying this course. I see what I need to work on and what I am good at (in terms of communicating).

I do find myself communicating differently with people from different groups/cultures. I think we all do to some extent. When I talk with someone of a different sexual orientation I am more aware of what I say. I try to stay neutral in topic--as not to offend anyone. Same thing for different races. I am more aware of what I say because offending someone unintentionally would really hurt myself and others. When I go back to work, I am going to listen to my preschool families and co-workers. I am going to see if they change their type of communication when speaking with other cultures and groups.

Three strategies to help me communicate more effectively:
Becoming more aware of the different cultures and their communication strategies.
Don't assume communication styles based on appearance.
Truly listen to the person without assumptions or bias. You can learn a lot about communication when you truly listen.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Communication and Television

This week's assignment was fun! I enjoy television and I love people watching--I got to do both things as a homework assignment--isn't learning fun!!! I watched the 90's sitcom Friends which is featured (reruns) on a popular television station. The episode I watched was a Thanksgiving episode and everyone had plans but all plans fell through. One character was to cook a special dinner and the dinner turned in to a fiasco. 
This week I had to watch a show muted and then watch the show with the volume. These are the questions I had to ponder without volume:
  • What do you think the characters’ relationships are based on the ways in which they are communicating?
  • What are they feeling and expressing based on the nonverbal behavior you are observing?
These are the questions I had to ponder with volume:
  • What assumptions did you make about the characters and plot based on the ways in which you interpreted the communication you observed?
  • Would your assumptions have been more correct if you had been watching a show you know well?
With the volume muted it appeared that I was watching "friends" enjoy each other's company. They seemed to have positive interactions, sat closely to one another, expressed themselves nicely with hand gestures and appeared to be listening to one another. This group of individuals were smiling consistently and appeared genuinely happy without any pending drama or issues.

With the volume turned up, I realized the group of friends were struggling with decisions. One "friend" did not have money to return home, one "friend" hated the Thanksgiving holiday and one "friend" did not celebrate Thanksgiving on the traditional day. Watching their smiles and their close proximity to one another, I assumed the "friends" were happy without any issues. Sometimes smiles and closeness can appear that everything is okay when it truly is not okay. Sometimes body language can be a disguise to one's true feelings.
If I had watched a show I frequented quite often, I would have been able to know that the smiles hide anger or disgust. I love reality drama and although the characters are smiling, they generally are discussing another characters short comings. I would have been able to read the non-verbal cues much easier.
I realize I am not as gifted in the non-verbal department as I thought I was. Sometimes I cannot read non-verbal cues correctly, or read them at all.
Very interesting assignment...