Tag Archive for Comm Studies

D&D and Mental Illness

What do the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) and the typical roleplaying game player’s handbook (PHB) have in common? The character typographies that both articulate are what Kenneth Burke would call “recipes for wise living, sometimes moral, sometimes technical” for fantasy worlds. Burke got this idea of recipes for living by analyzing proverbs…

Marriage is Like a Credit Card

Relationship advice on the internet is worse than something in Cosmo or Ladies’ Home Journal, mostly due to sheer volume and banality. The 9 Smartest Marriage Tips Ever from Salon bobbed through the data streams today, its author claiming to provide new, useful information derived from experts who ranged from her grandmother to the latest research. The article disappointed on…

What is Communication, Exactly?

The place of public speaking in the general education curriculum is constantly questioned. The image of communication majors in pop culture sheds light on why. Because “it’s kinda hard to put into words.” I experienced a moment of synchronicity to illustrate this. The moment is circular, a snake eating its tail. First, I received yet another email stating professional concern for…

Where’s Neil Postman When You Need Him?

Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death makes a perfect reading for Introduction to Humanities this semester, particularly Chapter 4 (“The Typographic Mind”). Unable to find a free PDF or DOC version online, and unwilling to scan one myself, I opted for the Sparknotes because I am a lazy, bankrupt educator. But SparkNotes are better than a YouTube claymation right? I…

Nonverbal Gestures – Another Reason to Like Hillary

Nonverbal communication expresses power and dominance. In public, professional settings, who gets to touch whom and the nature of that touch play out and define gender relations. Because it’s typically subtle, people are often unaware of this dynamic. When it’s more obvious, those in the “one down” position see it clearly, and those in the power position remain oblivious due…

Cultural Identity Activities for Teaching Privilege

Teaching issues of race and other identity categories presents a challenge in a racially mixed classroom. Student responses to race-related topics are unpredictable, and can send irretrievably shut down classroom dynamics for the rest of the semester. Last semester, for instance,  as some intentionally provocative students claimed that black people really do like fried chicken, others genuinely bought into the…

Black Doll, White Doll

The Black Doll, White Doll test was used in the Brown vs. Board of Ed case to contest desegregation. A 17-year-old high school student made a documentary, A Girl Like Me, revisiting this test today to see how much things have changed. Not much. The clip is great to show in class for discussions about race and identity. It’s useful…

Spaghetti Marshmallow Towers

A great team building activity is the spaghetti marshmallow tower. In this activity, students build a tower made out of spaghetti sticks and marshmallows in order to assess their performance and communication skills in a team situation. To build the tower, the students must “buy” their materials (spaghetti = 10 ¢, large marshmallow = 25¢, small marshmallow = 5¢). The…

A Day of Lessons in Stereotypes – Some Examples From Teaching Communication

Today has been an interesting lesson in stereotypes. Lesson one: A guest speaker from Deaf Services in BR come to the Interpersonal Communication class. He was dynamic and interesting, and the students loved him. The capital D is important to people in the Deaf community, by the way. Deaf culture is fascinating, particularly as it illustrates major concepts from communication…