For my Interpersonal Communications class, I have been required to keep a daily journal that parallels what communications I observe or remember, and what we've talked about in class and how it relates. I was looking through the 20 pages of journals and realized it would be a waste to only have my professor read them, so I figure I will post some of them every once in a while. Some are very personal, and some are very vague and have to do solely with the class; but here's a little glimpse into my thoughts.
May 10, 2010
Today I went to the desk where you can add or drop classes. The lady sitting at the desk didn’t look at me as she took my add/drop paper ( I was adding a course and dropping another), and looked down at it; she seemed frustrated after that. The class I was adding was a class that was full, but I had a separate note from the professor saying I could take his course. The lady looked at the note, becoming more jerky in her movements and her scowl depended. She looked at her computer, typed a few things and then told me that my classes were added. All this time , she did not once look at me.
Examining both her verbal (very little amount) and nonverbal communications, I would guess she was frustrated prior to me coming to her desk, and what I had her do for me frustrated her further. I don’t know why, but I read that loud and clear. That may be a decoding error on my part; but I felt that the verbal sending was heavy on my part, and the nonverbal was heavy on hers. This makes me wonder, can someone else’s smile (sender) brighten the day of the one who is down (receiver)? One thing that makes me think that this is not an isolated case is that this lady has been like this every time I have gone to see her. Maybe she needs to get a new job…?
May 10, 2010
When sitting in the hallway getting some homework done before my next class, an international (Asian) student approached me. Her accent made it difficult to understand what she was saying, but she recognized me from the previous class, and had a few questions about some of the assignments. Once I answered those, she told me she had ordered the wrong book, and I gave her a website where she could get the correct book. She then asked my name and hung around for a bit, until I said, “Nice meeting you” and gave a sort of wave. Then she walked away. This whole time she was making noises, that are similar to “uh huh”.
This communication set really made me wonder about the cultural differences in communication. Of course there was the language barrier, but there were also her “uh huh”s that came at odd times. She also was in an odd slouched posture, where her head was closer to me than the rest of her body. She also stayed around for a while after the conversation was over, or an American would guess it was over. This made me wonder if in her culture she needed to be dismissed, or if I had missed some part of her normal conversation. The fact that she came over to me in the first place also raises the question of: what verbal or nonverbal communication was I giving out in class that made me seem “safe” to approach to ask questions? Was I giving any out in the hallway? I presume I was saying “I’m working” because I was; but did I subconsciously look up and smile as she passed? This makes me want to pay more attention to my body language (or nonverbal communication) and to that of others. I think I am far more interested in “reading” people’s body language, and what they are saying that way, rather than what people are saying with their mouths (I already am decoding that well, I think).
May 12, 2010
Last night I was trying to sleep (it was about midnight) and there was loud music coming from my roommate’s room. It was loud enough that I could hear every word clearly through the brick. After dealing with it for a half hour or so, I went next door and knocked on their door. After my roommate said “Come in” I opened the door and asked her if she could turn down her music. “Why?” she asked in her Brazilian accent; “I’m trying to sleep, I have classes tomorrow”. Finally she grunted and turned down the music. I said thank you and returned to my room, and was asleep within minutes.
This was a time that communication helped solve a problem, though it may have caused frustration for the roommate. I think a problem came into play when she didn’t decode as I intended, when she was wondering why her music was bothering me. I am not sure if it was a cultural barrier, a language barrier or just an attitude one.
May 12, 2010
Today (or yesterday, the days are blending together) I was sitting in class and a student had a question about a term used in class. When the professor attempted to define what the term meant, the student still didn’t understand. So the professor tried using another word in place of the misunderstood term. After that failed, he used an example, and the student finally got what he was saying, so we could move on.
I felt that this was a great demonstration of the competency of the teacher. He was able to figure out a way to teach in the best possible way for that student. He was flexible, he didn’t just keep trying the same thing over and over, and was able to adapt to what the student needed, without going too far off track.