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A “Web of Interbeing” Comes Full Circle August 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — President Makalele @ 3:28 pm

Hanh’s Interbeing shows us how everything in the world is inter-be with everything else in the world and it relates to my responses to my classmates because without them I would not have been able to respond to the presentations because there would be no classmates to write them! Also communication is not a panacea because even with all of the communication we have been through in the past six weeks there still can be confusion that had to be cleared up in order for students to complete assignments. These two ideas are comparable because if everything is inter-be then no one thing (such as communication) can be a panacea because we would need a number of things or events to lead up to the panacea, it cannot stand alone. From day one our class has relied on the interbeing of everything anyone in the class has posted in order to get to the point we are at today. I think it is cool how I finally understand where my team pairings came from because Jimigarcia and Sports08 read and responded to Hanh’s Interbeing earlier in the class. That is just another example of one thing (teaming) was reliant on the responders to the particular article in question and how the products of the teaming (the presentations) are relied upon by the new comments our classmates gave us on our presentations. While all of the progressing assignments were ended up inter-be with previous assignments it is now apparent that all of the assignments can be traced to each other through a “web of interbeing”.

 

Openness Opens the Doors to IPC-Team 2 August 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — President Makalele @ 4:38 pm

The examples our team used to illustrate and track progressions of Interpersonal Communication were based on openness. Swabbies’ example shows us openness by the way of self disclosure between Getouttakingshous and John Elder Robison. Both interlocutors were open about problems they have while communicating to others but it was Steph who unknowingly at the time “nexted” to John Elder Robison therefore inspiring him to write about how he tries to reach his communication goals dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome. Sports08 discusses how he himself used openness to add flavor and back up his points in a conversation about John Robinson’s book “Look Me In The Eye” along with Stephanie’s lecture “Continuing Conversing.” JimiGarcia used examples from “group dynamics” from a user named Summer22 who used openness as a way to react to other classmates posts and a way to express personal ideas and personal information. Bridgeofideas used examples from Jimigarcia’s weblogs showing how his openness in his posts led to other classmates using openness with their responses to his posts. The most important thing that can be learned from this class is that being open during interpersonal communication can lead to new ideas or can be used as a tool to “next” the conversation and keep it going over time.

This portion of our work we took our examples from the “Group Dynamics class.” Throughout Summer 22’s blogposts and her comments for Steph’s lecture and her own personal page there can historically be found openness as a way to raise her level of Interpersonal Communication. The first place that I looked where I found Summer 22’s openness was when I went to the classes’ project on student guided tours. Here, a list of anonymous blognames were posted with links to student reflections about the class. While scrolling down on Summer22’s page I came to a title labeled “Most Important Thing Learned in Class”. While reading what she wrote I was seeing openness being used as a tool to express her own reflections on the course. Summer22 uses her openness stating, “My most drastic change, however, has to be my understanding of leadership. In different instances I have been dubbed a leader, and I think this is because my goal has always been to give off those perceptions of myself because in our culture it is what one strives to be.” This shows her being open with others telling the readers personal information as a way to make sure her point is getting across. I realized that there must have been a reason she was talking about leadership as an important part of IPC so I went to the link she left on the bottom to Steph’s lecture. This lecture explains the importance of “roles” in a group and how a leader is the most important part of the group but is unnecessary without a task at hand. As I scrolled down to the comments I came across Summer22’s post. The first thing that Summer talks about is how great her classmate Efhant’s comment was; she thought they really encapsulated the importance of a leader. I figured I ought to read this person’s response first so I scrolled up and read what they wrote. One of the most important things I found on their comment which was reflective in Summer’s page and comment was: “You can stick a bunch of people in a room and you’ve got yourself a group, but only if one of those people takes the initiative to address the group as a whole will the group create something together.” When Summer read a comment like this it prompted her to be responsive with openness to express her agreement and new points as well. On her comment she said: “I am always in at least one group project at all times, and sometimes it is up to that one person who will step up to the bat.” She again expresses openness with response to Efhant’s comment that they left which both were in response to Steph’s lecture. I scrolled down a little further to make sure Summer didn’t write anymore and to my surprise I found a link she left with reactions to comments people left her. On this blogpost Summer expresses how happy she was with the comments and how they have helped her work on IPC during the duration of the class. One of the things she learned from comments throughout the class was being sensitive to others. She said, “I’m a pretty passionate person, so I know that I need to be cautious of not being too overpowering, my goal has always been to express my views but make sure that everyone else feels comfortable expressing their own views.” This is another instance of her being open in response to other classmate’s comments and reactions to her posts. As shown, Summer22 has used openness as a tool to further her IPC skills and also as a way of “nexting”. By expressing her own opinions and reactions to others in an open fashion she leaves ideas for people to think about which can continue the conversation. I believe that openness has been an essential tool for this particular person in an online-style course and throughout the various this is proven of why she reacts the way she does.

Throughout our Interpersonal Communication class I have learned a lot about my own modes of communication in that I tend to be very open with my interlocutors and I rarely give up an opportunity to self disclose about myself. I realized that I do this in order to better get my point across to whomever I am communicating with. I began with a posting in the Group Dynamics class where I found John Elder Robison interacting with the class openly. I came across a comment by Getouttakingshous in this posting, ”Communicating something makes it possible for your audience to feel the same feelings you feel about what you are trying to communicate. And in order to do this, it takes a lot of practice and dedication. I’ve always had a problem with mumbling. The only way I could get through it was by practicing speaking clearly. I know that when I mumble, it takes a lot of the “pep” out of my speeches, and may allow people to form an opinion of me that I am boring and dull.”

Getouttakingshous is open with his problem of mumbling during a speech therefore taking the “pep” out of his communication to others and how they in turn will receive the information. Kingshous said this because John Robison said “For me, there may not be a clear and strong connection between the stream of words I address to a person, and my overarching goal in the ongoing interaction with that person. Yes, while that response is happening, I still retain an anticipation; an overall goal for my dealing with the person. It’s just that the actual spoken words may not take me closer to the goal; indeed, they may take me farther away.”
John and Kingshous share with each other that even when speaking their goals can get farther away from them. Kings’ mumbling and John’s overall anticipation of what he wants to achieve in a conversation are similar because both aspects can obscure whatever point each is trying to make.
John wrote about trying to reach a desired outcome when communicating because Steph “nexted” in her “Why are You Writing Sideways blog entry.

Steph mused, “Robison’s tendency was to answer “with whatever I had been thinking.” This is not so different, in my mind, from people who simply say the first thing that comes to mind. Neither response involves any anticipation – there is no forward-in-time quality of considering how the thing one says might lead to a certain kind of outcome, be it as mundane as a polite social interaction or as intense as a long-term relationship. And then, even within the range of possible responses that one might choose among, hoping that they might lead to the outcome you want (or at least one that you dimly perceive or otherwise don’t outright dislike), you can still get it wrong.”

Steph did not know at the time she would be “nexting” to John Elder Robison about anticipation and reaching a goal when communicating because John was not involved in the class at the time “Why are we Writing Sideways” was posted. She in fact did end up “nexting” to spurn John to talk about how he reaches his desired outcomes in communication. The openness here is from John and Kingshous in order to better explain how they both try to achieve their communication “goals”. Kingshous being open by admitting that his mumbling during speeches can obscure his overall goal and John Elder Robison by being open about Asperger’s and the difficulties associated with trying to get closer to his “overarching goal” during communication he is having with someone else.

Sunshine775 sprouts this passage consequentially to John and Kingshous’ experiences in reaching desired outcomes when communicating. “I have had similar experiences as John-where I am giving a speech or talking in front of a class and I have a certain goal of what I want my audience to take away from what I am saying. Sometime I can ramble and what I say just falls out of my mouth. Sometimes I reach my goal and other times I may confuse my audience. This ties into “Eye Contact” when I say that everyone has different frames and ways of seeing a situation. When I start to engage in a conversation or speech I may say things that people in my audience may not understand or know how to make sense of it. I find it so much easier to sit down at my laptop and type out how I feel. I even find it easier than sitting down with my diary.”

Sunshine listened to what both John and Kingshous expressed about communication goals getting obscured by their own conversational “doings” (mumbling, anticipation) and responded by openly stating that he/she too has experienced this obscuring process through rambling during a speech. All three of these issues be it from someone who is Aspergian or not are good things to think about when one has a certain outcome in mind during any form of verbal communication. To attain a goal or desired outcome in communication is not a very easy thing to accomplish and many factors are in play both on the “exhaler’s” side as well as the “inhaler’s” side. Realizing what can obscure you attaining your desired outcome such as mumbling or rambling can better your chances of achieving said outcome. When the interlocutors are open it is much easier for each of them to understand the other more lucidly than without being open in their communication.

This portion of our work we took examples from our class. In Jimigarcia27’s blog post he is reflecting on his reading assignment by Stewart and Zediker and his classmates’ responses to “happening” and “standing you ground.” His blog reads:

….reading my teammate Swabbies responses and learning’s from their “path” I did observe someone “happening” to them. Swabbies described where they went on this path and the different people’s posts that they read. The way that they responded to what they read on the blogposts made it clear to me that someone “happened” to them. The personal experience stories that were disclosed to Swabbies made him/her really realize that this was the best way to learn in this class. They say, “Self disclosure and experiences are the most effective ways to make the words real or rather to paint a picture of what you are trying to say.” Before reading the posts and responses Swabbies was “standing their ground” by having their own views and ideas but once each person “happened” to them their ideas changed.

Jimigarcia27 and Swabbies are both express the reality of being open to letting yourself to be happened. We are all senders and receivers of information and it is our willingness to disclose information that allows us to be efficient interpersonal communication skills.

“Self disclosure is important in this type of class because it makes the group more comfortable to communicate with each other. I began by clicking on the “why are you writing sideways” link where I found a blogpost by chocolatemilk. Chocolate milk wrote how love has more than one meaning and gave personal examples of how he/she felt when saying “love” in different contexts such as face to face or over the phone.”

Jimigarcia27 speaks about the level of comfort for disclosing personal information. It becomes apparent that we manage our communication depending who we are communicating with. One of the people in the class that he comments on is Sports08’s comments and his agreement with this person.“They talk about how the readings we’ve had were important and relate with the idea of recognizing a comfort level before you disclose personal emotions. “Once the level of self-disclosure has been established you must identify your feelings and interpret them according to the established comfort level in the relationship.” I agree with both ideas and think that they are going to help us in class. Sports08’s ideas about emotions being important are how I feel in the fact that we should express how strongly or weakly we fell about an idea. I also agree with Presidnet Makalele’s ideas about how through our style of class it is important to recognize a comfort level before disclosing emotions. I think it’s smart to recognize what amount the person your talking to is going to disclose before you decide yourself.”

Sports08 responds to communicating as exhaling with classmates and in life and the different level that we may need to engage others in communication depending on our relationship. …I feel as though after looking at the reading that deals with how we can put our emotions into words, and deal with our emotions through conversation will benefit us in our group efforts. Like mentioned above we have not had any conversations where we’ve shared much emotion. Although this reading is beneficial for our future conversations, I do not feel as though it pertains to our work in class. The reading that deals with how to express our emotions to strangers, and how we can share our thoughts to strangers will be beneficial. This is because we are all very much strangers, and we will have to share our thoughts when we work together as a group, and the general class-discussions. Therefore we have learned different methods of how we can share emotions and our thoughts to one another in this class, but also to strangers for the rest of our lives.

During this discussion, nexting, listening, emotions and self disclosure were evaluated and determined to be key components of effective communication.

http://aplaceinspace.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/nexting-and-being-nexted-what-we-exhale-becomes-us/#comment-1282“David Johnson uses the expression “self presentation” in “Being Open With and to Other People” when thinking about “impression management”. How open one is when communicating shapes how the receiver perceives the sender and the sender can “manage” their own impression on the receiver through self-disclosure. What you decide to be open about with someone is explained by Rosenfeld and Richman. Their article, “When, How, What to Self-Disclose” says that it depends upon the comfort and trust level between the two people communicating. Once the level of self-disclosure has been established you must identify your feelings and interpret them according to the established comfort level in the relationship.”

Interpersonal Communication has very many different concepts surrounding it. Our group feels as though the idea of being open when conversing and especially when “nexting” is very important. Through out our class Sports08 has used “openness” as a tool for interpersonal communication. The idea of being open gives a conversation a flavor, and makes for a better conversation. Typically the people involved in the conversation leave the conversation with a better feeling as opposed to having a conversation with out being open, and using openness as a form of “nexting.”

Sports08 shows different examples of being open through out his posts. For the lecture “Continuing to Converse” (July 31, 200 Sports replies to the lecture and connects his reply to John Robinson’s book “Look Me In The Eye.” Sports is fairly open through out this whole comment, but there is one part of this comment that stands out with openness. In reply to John’s challenges with autism, and how he was able to overcome so many obstacles Sports08 writes: “I have certainly had challenges in my life with communicating, as I was in fifth grade and was diagnosed with a language processing learning disability.” Sports is openly telling the class that he has a learning disability, but more so he is telling this in a communications class, and describing that his learning disability is revolves around communicating. Sports motivation to write this seems to come from being able to add personal experience of his own to relate to John’s personal experiences that he discusses through out his book.

In this lecture Stephanie brings up a very important case, that there are people who do intend on influencing a conversation. Stephanie says “The point is that we are always and forever joining conversations in the middle, and there are a lot of people who want to influence how the conversation turns out” (Stephanie Kent). Here Sports was joining in a conversation that was revolving around Robinson’s book and Stephanie’s lecture. Sports made the decision to be open in his comment, where as he could have replied and left out all personal experience and not brought up any personal information; if this were the case his response would have been much less interesting and his point would have been less clear.

Sports goes on to say later in his response “[…] I used to be rather pessimistic, therefore I would often anticipate the worst in circumstances that I should not have.” This quote was in response to Stephanie’s discussion of anticipating the worst, from the lecture “Audience: To Imagine or Ignore?” Stephanie explains to the class that “anticipation can be divided into two broad categories, which I will call “negative” and “positive.’” Sports explains that he used to be pessimistic, and would anticipate the worst in situations more so than he would anticipate in a positive way. Sports explains that he has learned since, and now he tries to be more positive: “I have since tried to always anticipate the best, even in a negative situation I try to find some positive that can come from it.” Here he tells about himself and how he has tried to improve himself. He then says “It is so much easier this way, than always anticipating the worst.”

Sports uses openness to make his response very colorful. With out the personal experiences and the way he is open this response would have been dry, and less interesting. Sports formulates his response and makes his points, by using personal experiences and referring to himself to back up these points. Openness is a skill that really makes interpersonal communication more interesting, with out it conversations can are much less personal and with out much flavor. Openness is essential in building relationships, and relationships can not be possible with out interpersonal communication.

 

Openness Can Open the Door to IPC August 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — President Makalele @ 4:53 pm

Throughout our Interpersonal Communication class I have learned a lot about my own modes of communication in that I tend to be very open with my interlocutors and I rarely give up an opportunity to self disclose about myself. I realized that I do this in order to better get my point across to whomever I am communicating with. I began with a posting in the Group Dynamics class where I found John Elder Robison interacting with the class openly. I came across a comment by Getouttakingshous in this posting, ”Communicating something makes it possible for your audience to feel the same feelings you feel about what you are trying to communicate. And in order to do this, it takes a lot of practice and dedication. I’ve always had a problem with mumbling. The only way I could get through it was by practicing speaking clearly. I know that when I mumble, it takes a lot of the “pep” out of my speeches, and may allow people to form an opinion of me that I am boring and dull.”

Getouttakingshous is open with his problem of mumbling during a speech therefore taking the “pep” out of his communication to others and how they in turn will receive the information. Kingshous said this because John Robison said “For me, there may not be a clear and strong connection between the stream of words I address to a person, and my overarching goal in the ongoing interaction with that person. Yes, while that response is happening, I still retain an anticipation; an overall goal for my dealing with the person. It’s just that the actual spoken words may not take me closer to the goal; indeed, they may take me farther away.”
John and Kingshous share with each other that even when speaking their goals can get farther away from them. Kings’ mumbling and John’s overall anticipation of what he wants to achieve in a conversation are similar because both aspects can obscure whatever point each is trying to make.
John wrote about trying to reach a desired outcome when communicating because Steph “nexted” in her “Why are You Writing Sideways blog entry.

Steph mused, “Robison’s tendency was to answer “with whatever I had been thinking.” This is not so different, in my mind, from people who simply say the first thing that comes to mind. Neither response involves any anticipation – there is no forward-in-time quality of considering how the thing one says might lead to a certain kind of outcome, be it as mundane as a polite social interaction or as intense as a long-term relationship. And then, even within the range of possible responses that one might choose among, hoping that they might lead to the outcome you want (or at least one that you dimly perceive or otherwise don’t outright dislike), you can still get it wrong.”

Steph did not know at the time she would be “nexting” to John Elder Robison about anticipation and reaching a goal when communicating because John was not involved in the class at the time “Why are we Writing Sideways” was posted. She in fact did end up “nexting” to spurn John to talk about how he reaches his desired outcomes in communication. The openness here is from John and Kingshous in order to better explain how they both try to achieve their communication “goals”. Kingshous being open by admitting that his mumbling during speeches can obscure his overall goal and John Elder Robison by being open about Asperger’s and the difficulties associated with trying to get closer to his “overarching goal” during communication he is having with someone else.

Sunshine775 sprouts this passage consequentially to John and Kingshous’ experiences in reaching desired outcomes when communicating. “I have had similar experiences as John-where I am giving a speech or talking in front of a class and I have a certain goal of what I want my audience to take away from what I am saying. Sometime I can ramble and what I say just falls out of my mouth. Sometimes I reach my goal and other times I may confuse my audience. This ties into “Eye Contact” when I say that everyone has different frames and ways of seeing a situation. When I start to engage in a conversation or speech I may say things that people in my audience may not understand or know how to make sense of it. I find it so much easier to sit down at my laptop and type out how I feel. I even find it easier than sitting down with my diary.”

Sunshine listened to what both John and Kingshous expressed about communication goals getting obscured by their own conversational “doings” (mumbling, anticipation) and responded by openly stating that he/she too has experienced this obscuring process through rambling during a speech. All three of these issues be it from someone who is Aspergian or not are good things to think about when one has a certain outcome in mind during any form of verbal communication. To attain a goal or desired outcome in communication is not a very easy thing to accomplish and many factors are in play both on the “exhaler’s” side as well as the “inhaler’s” side. Realizing what can obscure you attaining your desired outcome such as mumbling or rambling can better your chances of achieving said outcome. When the interlocutors are open it is much easier for each of them to understand the other more lucidly than without being open in their communication.

 

How Fierce Have we Been to Date??? August 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — President Makalele @ 5:20 pm

9:1 and 9:2

For the most part, the individuals of our class portray themselves as active learners but not so much as “fierce conversationalists”. We all want to be viewed as good students as well as intelligent and responsible people and it seems that most of us are, or is it the way everyone is communicating to each other in class that forms this creation of self we have achieved in the online environment? It could be and we may never know unless we actually engage in a communicative relationship with each and every classmate we interacted with during COMM 250 this summer. DelivermeSummer makes a good quote from Barrett’s article Maintaining the Self , “Our strategies arise from a powerful rhetorical imperative: to affect audiences favorably about ourselves.” This implies that the entire time we have been engaging in class discussions, everybody has been putting their most studious and intelligent selves forth in order to shape others’ views of them. Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations gives us the idea that we play it safe and agree with others a lot of the time in order to form a bond of acceptance with that other person. We desire to be accepted and because of that we may shy away from challenging the other person’s idea in any way in order to preserve the “accepted relationship” we have formed through the initial communication. This also applies to Stewart, Zediker and Witteborn’s article Constructing Identities and they say that we are constantly constructing identities while we communicate and while doing so we are constructing how others perceive us and the relationships we have with these people. (CommSyr09) In the online environment it is very easy to put forth how you want to be viewed. CommSyr09 also mentions this formation of identity in that she was unable to complete an assignment during one unit and as a result may have been viewed a slacker by other classmates. Because we do not know each other this is an easy interpretation to have toward CommSyr09 after missing such an assignment.

SpiceyNoodleSoup writes in response to Navita James’ When Miss America was Always White . He writes how the little girl in the article constructed her own identity through family storytelling. Spicey writes, “black culture was represented negatively by the dominant culture but she was encouraged by her family and community to reject the dominant culture’s scripts and embrace those from her own family”. The little girl was challenged to “question the norm” and respond fiercely against the stereotypes provided by the dominant culture. She did not just agree to everything and as a result further shaped her own identity. If anyone in the class felt strongly enough against anything we happened to be doing then it would be more likely that those particular classmates would respond fiercely to provide another view of the situation. By doing this these classmates would most likely be viewed either as more active or more engaged in the learning or they could be viewed as just having strong opposing views for whatever reason it may be such as family history or personal views shaped by family or friends. As a whole I think we have responded to things in an agreeing manner to protect how we are artificially viewed in class (no face to face communication). But we also have delicately stood our individual ground in order to “next” the conversation and therefore illicit responses to our own contributions to the class.

 

Dialogic Tension: It’s Necessary! August 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — President Makalele @ 3:28 am

Dialogue’s Basic Tension by Stewart and Zediker introduces the concept of “dialogic tension” which means that, “at almost every moment in a relationship the people involved are experiencing some tension between both privacy and disclosure.” (Stewart and Zediker, 586) We are currently engaged with four team members we have never met in a small team project for our online Interpersonal Communication class. Because we have not met each other the rules of disclosure depend on each individuals’ comfort with their respective privacies. This tension between disclosure and privacy is something that will make for quality dialogue between team members if the comfort levels of disclosure are reached by each member. It seems that we were paired rather arbitrarily by our professor but as Shinyginger pointed out three of us had unknowingly responded to the same posting as one another on a previous assignment which is a commonality. They also noted that we all seem to have a similar approach in our responses and postings moreover, the way we approach a question. This similarity should make it easy for us to interpret each others’ work within our discussion group.

The next two team members reflect on the role of emotional expression in our group work. Jimigarcia27 says, “expressing emotions in a way that relates to class may be a successful step our group should make.” I had said that expression of emotions will be an important factor in our group discussions in order to understand really where another team member is coming from but, there needs to be an established comfort level respective to each member. I can identify with Jimigarcia27 because emotional expression and self disclosure will provide the material needed to create the dialogic tension we will need in our group work. The only thing is that everyone in the group needs to find their comfort level of emotional and self disclosure.

Sports08 did not wholly agree that emotional expression is the best way for us to understand each other and communicate and that is just fine because it will provide the “push pull” factor we need for dialogic tension. Sports provides us with this, “We do not want to offend our team mates and we do not need to share our life-story.” This is true and I think that the role that Sports will play will provide that tension by standing their ground on the emotion issue. We will need that tension in order to have valuable dialogue within the team. I think that we have a good mix among our teammates to have dialogic tension and get some response that is not all total agreement all the time. Note: BridgeofIdeas did not have a 6:3 posting.

 

Self Disclosure and Personal Experience

Filed under: Uncategorized — President Makalele @ 1:36 am

The small group communication class we are reading from has a lot of examples of self disclosure in a lot of postings. Self disclosure is important in this type of class because it makes the group more comfortable to communicate with each other. I began by clicking on the “why are you writing sideways” link where I found a blogpost by chocolatemilk. Chocolate milk wrote how love has more than one meaning and gave personal examples of how he/she felt when saying “love” in different contexts such as face to face or over the phone. This led me to click on a link to Samesies20’s blogpost where they also used self disclosure and experience to explain their feeling about the use of the word love. I then found a link to churchofgoogle’s blog about hippies. Churchofgoogle told the world how he/she felt about hippies and what they thought of hippies which was cool and I then clicked on Baldis cultural analysis in Steph’s comment to churchofgoogle.

While Baldi’s entry about hippies I did not read, I stumbled upon Jia’s description of shame below Baldi’s entry. While shame was felt when grades were distributed he/she “disclosed” theirself the result of his/her feeling shame was his/her mother helping with schoolwork and in the end getting better grades. A good example of telling a story and making it easy and relateable through experience. Also, Jia was not afraid to express to the class that he/she did in fact get bad grades once. Lastly I went to the assignment page for the page where I had clicked on Baldi’s cultural analysis. The assignment page reads “How Words Create Reality”. We are in a completely online environment and therefore we need to create a real feeling of IPC using only typed words. Self disclosure and experiences are the most effective ways to make the words real or rather to paint a picture of what you are trying to say. I have decided that self disclosure stems from personal experience because stories of personal experience almost need self disclosure in order to come across in a manner that makes sense to everyone else. Also, in a class such as the small group communication class that these postings are from I believe that self disclosure is the gateway to quality small group discussion. Seeing as that is what we are doing right now in our class, maybe self disclosure would be a good topic to select. While it may not be THE topic we select we will find examples of it while researching whatever topic we do finally decide on.

 

Self Maintenance and Personal Identity August 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — President Makalele @ 2:29 am

            The first article I read was Maintaining the Self in Communication by Harold Barrett. The article explains the reasoning behind the different ways that people “defend” themselves in interpersonal communication and it will be useful in the group project.  Barrett explains that Americans today live in a world full of social disregard and decreased parental presence and authority and as a result we are more likely to justify ourselves in order to protect the “self” that we all have as a vision of ourselves. Basically people in the culture we live in are constantly defending themselves communicatively because they feel that they have to do so for self validation. We are always looking to get a response from our communications because our intent is to “get something” as Barrett writes. (Barrett, 97)  He goes on to say that we question our adequacy because of the lack of feedback on what we are “worth” as well as generally receiving less constructive feedback from others. (Barrett, 98) In the context of our newly formed groups there should be no need to feel like any individual in the group should need to validate his or herself because I believe that would only slow down our communication. Now, I am not saying that the group communications should be kept strictly business and be black and white so to say but the realm of our group work should contain no feedback that would make any member feel inadequate or like they did a “bad job” or provided a bad idea to the rest of the team. Constructive responses should be given to every contribution to the group discussion in order to foster an efficient method of completing the project. As a group we need to as Barrett says, “regulate events, to find strategies for making things happen favorably.” (Barrett, 103) This exhibits the control “topoi” and while the topoi seem to apply only to individual responses in applies to the responses of the group as a whole. If we all do a small part in our contributions to the discussions then we will in turn control the flow of our group work together instead of everyone trying to control in their own individual ways. While it is natural to protect and maintain each of our own self images we should try to get around that feeling and sort of take everything with a grain of salt.

 

            The second article I read was named When Miss America was Always White by Navita Cummings James. This article told about how her views of white and black were formed through stories and experiences she heard and had growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. She writes, “One of the duties of my parents in the 1950’s and 1960’s was to help prepare my sister and me for a world that would attempt to put limitations on what we could achieve because of our race.” (James, 110)  James tells about how the two sides of her family (mother’s and father’s) shaped her self image throughout her childhood. The stories on her father’s side shaped her views and she “came to believe that being White was nothing to be proud of and that the light skin color of some Blacks (including myself) was a badge of shame. It seemed to me that Whites would resort to any means-even murder-to keep blacks beneath them.” (James, 111) Her mother helped people by bringing food to the sick and poor no matter what race and she also stressed different things than her father did about race. James was told about how her grandmother used to help whites and her mother did not believe that blacks were inferior to whites. (James, 112) The point is that all of the stereotypes and stories of her child did not become “an intellectual prison” of her own self identity or her beliefs about whites. While the examples in this article are intense at times it will be important to maintain our own personal identities we each have as a result of our own experiences in life. If we get away from our own personal identities it may result in a confusing discussion thread where no one can really follow accurately because of the self maintenance going on. We can not avoid self maintenance totally but we can all work to interpret things said by others not as a shot to our own personal identities but rather as constructive communication to help ourselves to further shape our personal identities rather than constantly defend them.