I like to tell students that they shouldn’t think of my written exams as tests, so much as celebrations of knowledge. After all, if they have prepared effectively, studied, and reviewed materials regularly, all they are doing is sharing knowledge with me. Some students are more inclined to agree with me than others that it is, in fact, a celebration.
That said, let me remind you of some of the highlights of our first unit, which covered chapters 1, 2, and 3 of our textbook.
Chapter 1 focuses on the essential elements of communication we encounter every day. In that, we discussed the process of communication, including the distinctions between linear (essentially one-way) and transactional (multi-directional) models. We also talked about each of the elements within the transactional model, from encoding and decoding to feedback, as well as how our frame of reference can drastically alter the way we communicate. This chapter also goes over the principle functions of communication and the 4 modes of communication we cover (intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group, and public).
Chapter 2 places its emphasis on perception, as it relates to communication. We started that chapter by reviewing the 3-stage process of perception, outlined by the text. When we discuss perception, we do see a connection to the concept of frame of reference, which is both based upon our experiences and shapes our worldview. Further, our frame of reference provides us with our toolbox for responding to others. The more tools we have (the broader our experiences and understandings), the more likely we can respond to others effectively. Perception also ties to our self-concept and self-esteem, which is developed by our relationships with others. These in turn influence the way we view others, and can lead to stereotypes. We also discussed a little about the concepts of attribution, our biases, and prototypes–how they ALL relate to our perception of any given situation. We compared & contrasted during class the concepts of reflective appraisal and self-fulfilling prophecy. If any of these concepts are confusing, it may be a good idea to review chapter 2 more in-depth.
Chapter 3 explains the importance of listening to our communication skills. By discussing the different types of listening, we also understand how to become more effective listeners. The text does a fascinating job of providing some skills we can use to enhance our active listening abilities. We can also understand the value and importance of empathetic listening, as well as the role of ethical listening in our lives. Students may also want to recall the positive & negative effects of technology in our communication skills.
Of course, I always remind students that they need to REALLY read closely all parts of the chapters, including those special inserts regarding technology, ethics, skill building, etc. Keep in mind that the end-of-chapter review questions, coupled with the objectives presented on page 1, can be very helpful to checking a personal understanding of the text.
As a side note, students may want to keep checking back with this blog for more information that might be shared regarding the upcoming test. *HINT HINT!*