Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back to Class?

We're coming back to class after this strange Spring Break.

My Interpersonal Relationships have been rather few and shallow this week. I've spent most of the time working on catching up (wasn't entirely successful on that either). I'm looking forward to being back with people and away from my computer screen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gone - But Certainly Not Forgotten

Gone - But Certainly Not Forgotten

It's the first full day of Spring Break. I haven't seen a student all day. (I haven't graded a paper either, but that's another issue. I also haven't finished Sunday's Sermon - yet another issue.)

But just because the students are gone doesn't mean they aren't still making their presence felt.


Voice-mail (I haven't checked).

Text messaging.

Tasks for Easter.

I have been busy much of the day with student related tasks. Either student and production needs have been my aim, or they have not been far off my mind.

Interpersonal Communication in the age of electronics isn't all that different from the way it was in C.A. Swensson's time. I'm betting that students were never far from his thoughts when he made that February 1904 trip to California. Students are like that. They're something that professors obsess over, worry about,work for and expect work from. If it weren't that way, maybe we wouldn't be in the profession at a small college that puts a premium on relationships.

But I am here, I like it here, I feel validated by what I do here - so - Good Break, Kids. I'll be thinking about you while you're away!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Systems Theory

This power point outlines the basic qualities of Systems Theories. The question for communication is "what do we learn about families if we consider them as systems?"

Some of the things that we have to consider is "How do outside influences change the way the family operates at home?" "Are 'bad kids' just bad individuals, or are they elements of a bad system?" "How much is an individual's behavior constrained by the way the larger system works?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Great Discussion

Thanks to all of you for a great discussion today.

It was helped by the fact that many of you had read most, or all, of the article - and had experiences to contribute.

You enriched that article, turning it from a good exploration of an interesting theory into a dynamic piece that sparked thought. Good on you.

Conversational Analysis

More to the point that the Social Exchange Theory, here is the slide show on Conversational Analysis. This one will be in test materials.

Social Exchange Theory

We discussed Social Exchange Theory in class, but I thought you might appreciate an opportunity to review the Power Point. It is an important theory concerning how and why we make connections with others.

The Shortsightedness of the 18 to 20 Year Old

I'm concerned about one of the posts on Anna's blog, concerned enough to write about that post. I think that the post has something to say about Interpersonal Communication, so I'm including it here.

What bothers me is the line: "If this is how it is going to be, it is going to be a long season…especially with Cantrell. Most of the Ju-Co players are looking at transferring next year so they do not waste it on this program. I do not blame them. We went from the best in conference to the worst…great move Bethany College…"

Now, it may be that my reading of this is clouded by the fact that I am feeling exceptionally stressed out. But I have to take exception to the assertion that the college, qua institution, made a big mistake by hiring Cantrell. I do that in my response to the post.

It also seems to me that this cheap shot at Cantrell is motivated by feelings, strong feelings, colored by the fact that the poster has a BF on the BB team. She's hearing disgruntled players - who are labeling themselves as losers on the lookout only for themselves - in other words, very negative people who aren't seeing very far into their own future.

The result, of course, is to blame the coach, the institution, all the places except where the blame in fact belongs - on the players. Neither the coach, nor the institution was out on the ball field during that game.

Moreover, while the baseball team was winning last year, it came at a tremendous price. Faculty were highly distrustful of the coach last year (and had good reason to be so) and that mistrust spilled over into other athletic areas where it was not quite as justified.

But - and this is my big but coming in here - when you're 18 - 22 years old you don't know or don't care about the history. Your communication tends to be driven by the emotions you feel right at the moment you're writing. I know. I was that way.

I was easily excited to shout "injustice!" at every turn.

The first issue of the Augustana Observer I edited had one such shout. A dorm mother inspected a student's closet. We cried "racism!" and "facism!" It was nothing of the case, but I was sure we were speaking up for justice, and that the student, of whom I was very fond, had been abused.

We were almost sued for libel. I learned about slander. I learned about my emotions and my need to keep my emotions in check when trying to deal rationally with the world.

Pete Seeger at 89

I just added "Pete Seeger at 89" to my CD collection. It is a huge collection of cuts from this legendary figure in folk music.

One that I think might become my favorite is his song about babies growing to adulthood and the melancholy caused for parents by that growth. It is what we hope will happen to our children - if we're functional parents, but it is also painful to see. We may battle with our children when they're little, but we remember those days with great fondness. The memory of the battles fade, even become funny, while the memory of the waddling little baby just learning to walk, with a whole world of possibilities ahead, remains as vivid as any memory we have.

For those who've never heard Pete Seeger, here's a Youtube video from his younger days.

Interpersonal March 17, 2009

Interpersonal March 17, 2009

Housekeeping - Review the rubric and date for Verbatim.
Reading for Thursday

 Reading for Today
Adult Children Experience

What were the Research questions that drove the work?

What were her findings?

How did the research arrive at these findings?

What was her methodology?

What theoretical basis is there for her methodology?

How confident can we be in her findings?

What is the significance of the findings?

Do the findings in any way parallel your experience with managing privacy in your family?


This isn't an Interpersonal Post, it is an experiment

Let's see if the presentation works.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Theatre and Interpersonal Communication

One of the things I believe links my work in communication studies with other work I do is the theatre. Theatre is all about relationships - about the spatial dimensions of relationships, about the way tone of voice alters how others feel about you, about the way your family background makes itself known later in your life.

Right now I'm at work directing Easter for the Messiah festival. I'm a little nervous because we open in a month, and Spring Break comes in between now and then - so we have barely three weeks to get ready.

I think that we may be under rehearsed, but that we'll get it through to the audience if we remain true to the relationships that Strindberg has put on the page. They're clear, it seems to me. They're also very interesting.

In the end, the Deus ex machina comes and saves the family. Sure, that's a given. But, the play's internal logic allows us a glimpse into a world we seldom see - where flowers speak the language of scents and telephone wires are angry because of the angry language of the telephone users - where all the world is animated by a great spirit.

If we can be true to the relationships, we can make this live for an audience.