Friday, September 30, 2011

Cultural Value Dimensions

If you are having trouble identifying the cultural value dimensions of your culture, this website breaks down MANY countries by their value dimensions. Once you figure out your culture's value dimensions, be sure to consider how this impacts your culture's communication behaviors and patterns. Here is the link:

Questions to consider:
What are some specific communicative behaviors that reflect different cultural values? For example, in class I mentioned how the American phrase "What do you mean?" and the Anakalang translation of this phrase "Where does it strike?" reflect different cultural values (individualist vs. collectivist) because one phrase is concerned with the intent of the speaker ("what do you mean?"), while the other phrase ("where does it strike?") is concerned with the effect of the speaker's words upon an audience. The Anakalang as a collectivist culture are concerned with group cohesion and functioning, while America as an individualist culture is concerned with individual independence and autonomy. Can you think of other communicative behaviors and/or phrases that demonstrate the different cultural values we discussed in class?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Citing Sources in Your Speech

As you know, you need at least 6 sources for your intercultural presentations. When you are pulling ideas directly from a source, you need to acknowledge where you got that idea. This article provides some great examples and wordings for how to do this in your speeches: Citing Sources in Your Speech.

Defining Culture

“As a result of the class you are born into and raised in, class is your understanding of the world and where you fit in; it’s composed of ideas, behavior, attitudes, values, and language; class is how you think, feel, act, look, dress, talk, move, walk; class is what stores you shop at, restaurants you eat in; class is the schools you attend, the education you attain; class is the very jobs you will work at throughout your adult life. Class even determines when we marry and become mothers.” (Donna Langston regarding class as a culture in “Tired of Playing Monopoly”)

1. How does class (socioeconomic status) impact the various things listed in the quote? Give specific examples.
2. What if I substitute class for religion? How does religion impact these things? What about race?
3. What about when these cultures overlap (race, class, etc)? How does this complicate this quote?

By the way, these are just questions to get you going. You do not have to answer these. If a different question comes to mind, then feel free to address that. If this quote stimulates a certain though or notion, then go with that.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where the Hell is Matt?

Have you heard about Matt? Maybe not? Well, Matt gets paid to travel to different parts of the world and dance with people. Sound pretty awesome, right? So basically, this is what Matt does:

If this doesn't work for you, here is the link:

You can read about how he gets paid to do that here: About Matt

Also, watch this video on how Matt gets all those people to dance to him:

We are talking about intercultural communication and cultural values this week, and I think this is a great example of what happens when we use communication as a bridge to connecting with people (see page 145 in your textbook for more on communication as a bridge).

Matt says on his website "Matt thinks Americans need to travel abroad more." What do you think this means?
How is Matt using communication to connect with people from other cultures?
Can you think of any other internet memes, bad dances, or other things that can help us communicate across cultures?

Also, I think it's really important to note how Matt recognized that not all cultures have equal access to the internet, and in order to incorporate these other cultural venues Matt adapted his methods. We tend to see the internet as a great equalizer, but even the internet is limited in terms of access. Matt really took on a dual perspective by not assuming that everyone would have access to his internet meme.

Reminder: COMMunity Fair Presentations

On Day 2 of this week (Wednesday or Thursday depending on your section), the Social Issue Research groups and Organization Research groups need to present for 4-5 minutes on where their research currently stands. I expect this to be a brief, but organized presentation with key points that gives the class a general guiding point for where the research is going and what they should expect from you as a group. You are welcome to use a little time to ask the class for suggestions (for example: you could ask the class what they think may be the best way to organize the information for when you pass it off to the other groups). Additionally, the other groups will have time to ask the presenting group any questions they may have.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Helpful College Tip - Speedreading?

One of your classmates sent me this link on speed reading. When you click on it, you will get a download notification for a powerpoint. The powerpoint covers speed reading. Check it out here: Speed Reading Powerpoint

Now I don't really like the name speed reading because speed reading is more about getting you to read more effectively and efficiently. It seems surprising that we have to learn how to read, but in our current culture where most of us have an inordinate amount of things on our plate learning to speed read can highly benefit some of us.

Things to consider:
Have you tried speed reading before? What has been your experience with it?
Do you think speed reading is a good studying strategy? Why or why not?

Principles for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety

I found a webpage on public speaking anxiety that I think really covers a lot of the fears we feel when speaking in front of people whether or not we have higher or lower public speaking anxiety. Now this model does not entirely fit the context of a required assignment, but the stuff about audience is particularly helpful. Principle #9 may seem to contradict a lot of what I said which is to prepare, prepare, prepare. In this case, you are presenting on something that you more than likely do not have a lot of knowledge on, thus you do need to prepare more, but the author does not an important point about what motivates you to prepare. Here is the link:

We have already talked about public speaking anxiety quite a bit, but as you read over this consider some of the principles. Do they seem counterintuitive or right on the money? Do you think one can overprepare for a speech? How does context (where you are speaking and what about) change some of these principles?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Public Speaking

During the first part of class this week, we will cover public speaking in order to get you ready for your intercultural GROUP presentations. Here is a link to get you mulling over the do's and dont's of public speaking: Never Ask Does That Make Sense

The author makes some excellent points about how certain words or phrases impact your audience's perception of you and your knowledge of the topic. Now the author does mention how these sorts of words can vary across context and be used as rhetorical strategies. However, it may not be best for you to try that at this point. As we start talking about public communication here are some things to ponder:

1. Do you have public speaking anxiety? Do you know causes this anxiety? What are some tactics, if any, you have used to overcome this anxiety?
2. What are some other public speaking blunders that detract from the speaker's message?
3. What are some effective public speaking techniques that draw you into a presentation or speaker's message?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 Tips for College Students

One of y'all sent this article to me and I think it is worth posting because it is truly written from a student's view. This is significant because as an instructor there are certainly things about this article that make me cringe. After all, no instructor likes to think that their class may not be a students' number one priority, but c'mon we all have different interest, priorities, and demands in our lives. Here is the link:

Questions to consider (though you certainly can comment on anything that you got out of the article):
1. What in this article do you find particularly helpful and why?
2. What in this article do you find potentially unhelpful and why?
3. What does the college experience mean to you?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning Styles

Some of you may have done this before, but I am listing a really good link for discovering your learning style. Learning styles are the ways in which individuals prefer to learn. For example, a kinesthetic learner, one who prefers learning through bodily movement, may remember a phone number by the sequence of keys they hit in their phone as opposed to remembering the actual number.

I encourage you to take this learning style inventory in particular because it rather than giving you an either/or answer, it provides your two strongest areas with tips on how to best utilize your learning style. Here is the link:

I am rather even across the various learning styles, but always learn towards visual/verbal. What this means is that students who have the same learning style as me are more likely to fair better in my class - studies show that students with the same learning style as their instructor perform better in the classroom. Additionally, higher education more often favors auditory, verbal, and visual styles, however lab classes are often better for kinesthetic learners because you are actually "doing" something.

Questions to consider:
1. What is your learning style and what are some ways you utilize your style when studying or in class?
2. What are some ways college classes can better incorporate your learning style into the classroom?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adjusting to College

The Counseling Center is having a free workshop titled "Adjustment to College."  Here is the information:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Student Counseling Center 311 Chestnut Hall
12:10 PM – 12:50 PM

College life is an adjustment no doubt about it. You have a lot of new things hitting you all at once and finding ways to help you deal with that is integral to getting through college. Take advantage of your campus resources aimed at helping you adjust to this new life.

Some questions:
1. Do you have any tips for coping with homesickness?
2. Do you know of any other resources that can help you cope with adjusting to college life?
3. If you aren't a new college student, what were your expectations of college and how did you deal with the reality of college life?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Time Management and Learning Skills

We often assume learning is somehow inherent, rather than an acquired skill (and I will say this time and time again this semester that it's not), but there are specific skills that can help you improve your collegiate performance. One of your fellow classmates emailed me a helpful link on time management tips:

Cassandra offers this tip for note taking: "...I have recently learned, checking blackboard for notes is something to do prior to class. It’s extremely helpful to print out these notes and write emphasized words made by the professor instead of writing for an hour and missing the lecture." She also would like to know what works for other people and what suggestions you may have. This is a great chance for y'all to help one another out and offer some advice.

Some things to consider:

1. What time management skills have worked best for you?
2. Which time management skills do you struggle with the most?
3. How do you take notes? Have you had to change your note taking style in college?

Also, the Learning Center is offering a series of study skills workshops on as time management, note-taking, learning styles, and test taking tips. These workshops are free, but you do need to reserve a spot ahead of time. You can view the calendar and book your spot here: