Situated Communication Workshops

Today in situated communication, we were learning more about how to use Glow and shown how to upload audio files and videos to our blogs. We also had a workshop in the performance studio where we got to practice our … Continue reading

Today in situated communication, we were learning more about how to use Glow and shown how to upload audio files and videos to our blogs. We also had a workshop in the performance studio where we got to practice our storytelling to group of peers, and they then gave us feedback.  It was nerve-wracking as I felt very conscious  of my body language and voice when I was standing up in front of my classmates but they were very supportive and I got really nice feedback along with potential opportunities to make the story better. I was so glad once I’d done it, and felt a real sense of achievement. I only have to emulate that in the actual assignment now!

Finally we took part in a role-play workshop where we had to act out certain scenarios given and reflect on how we would do them in the classroom if confronted with them.  This ended with a question and answer session on aspects of placement that have arisen that we wanted advice or feedback on, which was very valuable.

Review: Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.

The chapter challenges the reader to view questioning as a complex and powerful tool of communication. Hargie argues that, while many people ask questions, few realise the form and delivery of the question informs the answers they receive. Questioning as … Continue reading

The chapter challenges the reader to view questioning as a complex and powerful tool of communication. Hargie argues that, while many people ask questions, few realise the form and delivery of the question informs the answers they receive.

Questioning as an essential skill for constructivists teaching. If pupils are to build their own knowledge they need to be able to come to conclusions through investigation. Questioning from a teacher can provide the opportunity for examination of ideas which build and expand schemas of knowledge. Piaget refers to this as accommodation the process where new information necessitates the alteration of existing knowledge schemas (Wadsworth, B. J., 1996). In this chapter Hargie warns of the dangers of poor questioning techniques, from the sinister creation of false memories in the Orkney Satanic Abuse Inquiry  through leading questions to the more benign confusion caused by embedded questioning which can confuse young children.

In terms of teaching practice then it is not enough to question children but to know how to utilise different methods of questioning and be aware of the context and delivery of these questions. This should include using both open and close questioning and avoiding using leading language.

Briefly mentioned in this chapter is the marked increased of teachers questions in the class room compared to the minimal questions from children. Inquiry based learning requires children to have the context, time and skills to question (Chesters S.D. 2012). Understanding the importance of questioning then, is not only important for teachers to question effectively put to also create a classroom environment which encourages and enables questioning also.

References

Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.

Wadsworth, B. J. (1996) Piaget’s theory of cognitive and affective development: Foundations of constructivism. 5th ed. Longman Pub

Chesters S.D. (2012) Socratic Pedagogy and Classroom Practice. In: Chesters S.D. (eds) The Socratic Classroom. SensePublishers, Rotterdamlishing.

 

Communication in Other Environments – Den Building

Group and Leadership During this activity, our group worked well together. There was no set leader of the group, but instead we each took on a different task to build the den. Some people had to gather materials, others found a suitable area to build and another person ensured we followed the criteria of the … Continue reading “Communication in Other Environments – Den Building”

Group and Leadership

During this activity, our group worked well together. There was no set leader of the group, but instead we each took on a different task to build the den. Some people had to gather materials, others found a suitable area to build and another person ensured we followed the criteria of the building. We each made sure that we contributed to our given tasks.

 

Explaining

When speaking with another group, we discussed their den building experience. They shared different strategies they used to build the den and mentioned the small challenges that they had faced throughout. There was also discussion on the initial ideas of their den and how much it had changed by the end of the activity.

 

Environment

I found that working in this outdoor environment was very calm and refreshing. It gave us all the opportunity to experience a new environment and be creative in the way that we worked, particularly as a team. I did not find it challenging to speak above the sounds of nature, I think that we may have been speaking quieter as we felt very relaxed and calm in the outdoors.

 

Negotiation

After completing our den, we had some materials left over. We decided to negotiate with another group and successfully traded items that suited each of our dens well. This was an important part of the task as it allowed us to work with other teams and better our own build.

The skill of questioning

Following a Situated Communication workshop, I have been given an independent task to read a chapter from ‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’ (Hargie, 2011). Chapter 5 of this book discusses the various types of questions which can … Continue reading

Following a Situated Communication workshop, I have been given an independent task to read a chapter from ‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’ (Hargie, 2011).

Chapter 5 of this book discusses the various types of questions which can be used to shape or influence the given answer.  The function of certain questioning techniques is highlighted, with examples of ‘affective’ and ‘leading’ questions being suggested as techniques which can manipulate answers, with the effects on individuals by varying questioning techniques also explained.   

There were several theories mentioned within the chapter, and I found these to be very thought provoking, particularly the ‘minimisation’ theory.  This strategy is found to be used within courtrooms to lead subjects into believing that they may be treated more leniently when questions are put to them in a more understanding manner. I also was intrigued by the ‘acquiescence’ effect of individuals anticipating an answer to a question without fully understanding the question being asked.  Psychology appears throughout the chapter, and is found in the example of ‘subtle leads’ which highlights how answers can be influenced by the use of particular words.  Harris (1973) provided evidence of ‘subtle leads’ when asking the question “how long was the movie?”.  Answers  of 130 minutes were given, compared to those who answered 100 minutes when asked “how short was the movie?”.  

Although I agree with most of what is written in the chapter, I do not agree with the use of ‘leading questions’ when questioning children, as seen in the Orkney satanic abuse inquiry. It has been demonstrated through research by Hardie and van Leeuwen (2004), that children aged between three and five and a half years of age were more susceptible to be led by this style of questioning, although this particular inquiry contravenes this research as the child in the excerpt could not be influenced.

Reference

Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.

 

Den Building

As part of the Situated Communication course we ventured outside and tried our hands at den building. Most of our dens would probably not have sheltered us with a great degree of success. Thankfully the purpose of this endeavour was … Continue reading

As part of the Situated Communication course we ventured outside and tried our hands at den building. Most of our dens would probably not have sheltered us with a great degree of success. Thankfully the purpose of this endeavour was more to do with metaphorical building rather than literal, building ourselves into cohesive teams who could communicate with one another rather than structural integrity.

Group Leadership
We were assigned groups based on our birth months, this made it more likely for us to work with people we previously hadn’t. In this newly created group we began to establish a group dynamic. No one put themselves forward as leader initially and this continued throughout the project. Decisions were made collaboratively, not with a formal vote but by people putting forward suggestions of where to place items or how to attached various structures. Most people contributed through questions “What if we put the tarpaulin here?” or “Do some of us want to go a get some more sticks?” which lead clarifications “You mean like this?”. If there was a disagreement it would always be followed by a explanation which I hope meant that no felt excluded or that their ideas where not appreciated. We also joked and while we took the task seriously we were not overly competitive which lead to a relaxed atmosphere within the group.

There were two parts of this activity that I personally felt were challenging. Firstly I am aware that I can be a dominating character in a group situation and tried to make sure that I was listening more than I was talking. I think I was successful though I consider it an ongoing goal.

Secondly I struggled to use positional language. We needed to guide poles through tree branches for the roof of our den. This required one person to manoeuvre the pole from in the tree and one person on the ground to direct them.  I kept  saying “move the thingy a bit this way” coupled with hand gestures rather than the more clearer “move the stick a bit to the left”. This was particularly unhelpful when directing a team member who cant see you! This is a clear area of development for me which I will work on going forward.

Explaining
The group explanation was well done following a logical and chronological format. There was one spokesperson from the group which ensured clarity and that a common understanding could be reached.

Environment
We were lucky in that the environment was not overly noisy and the nature of the assignment and our enclosed location in the trees meant that we were physically very close to each other. When it came to explaining our den to the other groups we have to be more mindful of where we stood and that we were facing the group face on.

Although it was fairly quiet being outside is a more stimulating experience than in our usual sterile classrooms or lecture theatre. I found that my attention wandered somewhat or that I would be hyper focus on a manual task which meant that I didn’t listen as well as I could have. If there was a word to call the full attention of the whole group for examples “Guys, what if ..” or if someone called my name I would be engaged more readily. In a teaching situation I would also use children’s names, if possible be in the same location or  use a bell or other unique sound to call the attention  and gather groups before speaking.

Negotiation
We were wholly unsuccessful in  task to ask another group for part of their den which seemed essential to it’s construction. However the negotiation itself was carried out in a friendly manner and each group’s reasoning was well thought out. The most challenging aspect was having to continually say no to people and to also continually approach people asking for something which would effectively ruin their work.

 

 

Communicating Outdoors

Today I explored my communication skills in an outside environment, and was given the task of building a den with members of a team. Group and leadership Within my particular team I did not feel that there was a specific … Continue reading

Today I explored my communication skills in an outside environment, and was given the task of building a den with members of a team.

Group and leadership

Within my particular team I did not feel that there was a specific group leader, although there were a few team members who were perhaps more vocal than others at suggesting ideas.  We worked well together and managed to agree on individual suggestions relatively quickly. I feel that all team members were able to voice their ideas and everyone listened to one another respectfully. We all had a clear idea of the design of the den and a similar vision of what it should ultimately look like. As the den took shape, we were enthusiastic and this made it feel fun, we had plenty of laughs along the way. I didn’t feel any resentment within the team and we encouraged each other to get involved as much as possible. The most challenging part was communicating with the team members I didn’t know very well. I found it far easier to communicate with team members I already knew as I had an idea of what their strengths would be in this task.

Explaining

The group who were explaining their task did so very well.  I think this was due to one specific member being chosen to talk, instead of different members trying to communicate at the one time.  This kept their communication clear and concise and meant that all aspects of the task were communicated in a logical manner. A number of people did state that planning could have been better, that most members rushed into making the den, and that planning  happened as the den evolved.

Environment

Being outdoors is a wonderful setting for learning as it keeps things relaxed, informal, and provides a change of environment for learners who may not ordinarily perform well in a classroom situation. I felt that students in this task came to life and were perhaps more outspoken than usual.  Being outdoors also provided an opportunity for everyone to communicate as freely and loudly as they wanted. Communicating outdoors is more challenging than indoors due to natural noises and distractions. Our group appeared to be distracted by the team members working close by and also by birds and dogs making the odd appearance.  We chose to build our den within a group of trees, which was nicely sheltered from wind and did make it easier to hear each other talking, although we were talking far more loudly than we normally would indoors.  

Negotiation

Negotiations were unsuccessful and I think this was because the teams felt like a tight unit who had all contributed to the den building, and were therefore not willing to compromise on anything which was their own hard work.  There were plenty of offers made for various parts of our den which were declined, and we had all agreed early on that we were not willing to trade anything because we were all so pleased with our end result. I found it challenging to continually decline offers when other members were communicating well and in such a friendly manner.

Community Project: Rainbows

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old. Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged …

Continue reading “Community Project: Rainbows”

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a
Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old.

Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged five to seven. They take part in different activities, trips and overnight adventures all based around the Girlguiding program and our promise:

“I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide law.”

This is simplified for the Rainbows to:

“I promise that I will do my best to think about my beliefs and to be kind and helpful.”

(Girlguiding, 2019)

The most surprising thing I found at this unit was how big it was. The unit has been split into two and has up to 20 girls in each sections. The sections run back to back so we can have up to 40 girls in a night. We run this with two leaders and two young leaders. This also presents several challenges as we have a very small space in which to work and controlling girls who like to run around screaming can be very challenging. We try to overcome this by working with the girls in small groups when doing the activities.

Another challenge I have faced is learning about the new program that has been implemented in Girlguiding. I took a year out from Guiding when I came to university so did not receive any training for the new program, therefore I am having to learn how the program works and the new way in which the girls are earning badges and awards.

Despite these challenges I absolutely love working with the girls. It is one of the reasons I decided to become a primary teacher. I love being able to work with them and teach them new skills. To be able to see girls walk out with a smile on their faces that they didn’t come in with is really amazing to see.

The girls all come from different schools and different backgrounds but they all come together once a week to  work and play together. In doing this they are able to create their own community within Rainbows. Rainbows also take part in wider community events. Recently the rainbows took part in the Remembrance day service at the church we meet in. Rainbow units could also look after community flower or vegetable plots, help with toy appeals or visit care homes.

Girlguiding within itself is a community made up of “50,000 young members” and “11,500” volunteers in Scotland alone (Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This, however, is just one country if we look at our worldwide community – who all come together under the name of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) – we have 150 countries and 10 million members all over the globe ( World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, n.d. and Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This is something that I find amazing that 10 million girls and women can be connected by one single organisation which has commons goals and outlooks. Being part of girlguiding has allowed me to meet and become friends with people from across the country and around the world. It is through this community that I was able to start up with another Rainbow unit in another town.

Within Rainbows I have been able to build my confidence when controlling a group of children. I have also developed my communication skills with parents, children and with other volunteers. These are essential skills in teaching as communication and control are paramount in the classroom. I’ve also been able to develop my confidence in being able to keep this age group focussed on tasks – another thing that is vital in the classroom. As I continue to volunteer I feel that my skills in communicating and engaging children will improve. I also feel that I will be able to transfer the experiences of learning through play from Rainbows into the classroom.

Many of the activities that are in the Rainbow program have to be adapted to suit the venue, resources and the type of girls we have. This would be similar to the differentiation that has to be done in a classroom. This sometimes has to be done very quickly with no prior planning because of changing circumstances. This skill will help in my development as a teacher in a ever changing environment.

Volunteering with the Rainbows links with Sustainable Development through the badges that focus on looking after the planet and looking after the community. Girlguiding’s (2019) “#PlasticPromise” that is a pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Rainbows also links to Interprofessional Working because as a Rainbow leader I need to work with other leaders and young leaders, district commissioners, county commissioners, parents, other organisations and the church minister. This requires good communication skills and the ability to work well as a team.

 

References

Girlguiding (2019) Girlguiding launches #PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/our-stories-and-news/news/girlguiding-launches-plastic-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding (2019) The Promise [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about-us/what-makes-guiding-special/the-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Facts and Figures [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/what-we-say/press-and-media/facts-and-figures/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Rainbows (age 5 – 7) [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/who-we-are/what-girls-can-do/rainbows/ [Accessed 25 November 2019]

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (n.d.) Membership [Online] Available: https://www.wagggs.org/en/about-us/membership/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]