Elaine Jones

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February 10, 2020
by Elaine Jones
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Protected: Placement Serial Day 3

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January 31, 2020
by Elaine Jones
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January 26, 2020
by Elaine Jones

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 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.


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


January 24, 2020
by Elaine Jones

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 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.


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.


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.  


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.

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