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Communication and Relationships

 

Handouts and Manual

 

Click the above link to view Word documents for all the handouts and the Instructor Manual for this chapter. 

 

Communication Scenarios

 

The following discussion questions help students to think about how personality type influences their communication style.

 

  1. An introvert and an extravert are having an argument.  How is the extravert likely to act?  (The extravert may talk louder or dominate the conversation).  How is the introvert likely to act?  (They may talk less or withdraw.)  How can the extravert improve communication? (Give the introvert time and opportunity to speak.)  How can the introvert improve communication?  (Make an effort to communicate.)
  2. A sensing and an intuitive type are on a date.  What is the sensing person likely to talk about?  (They tend to talk about actual events like the weather, news, or what they did lately.)  What is the intuitive type likely to talk about?   (The intuitive type is likely to talk about creative ideas such as goals, dreams, or impressions.)
  3. A thinking type and a feeling are dating.  When there are problems in the relationship, how is the thinking type likely to approach the problem?  (The thinking type will try to analyze it.)  How will the feeling type approach the problem.  (The feeling type will want to talk about feelings.)  How can the thinking type improve communication?  (Listen to feelings without analyzing them.)  How can the feeling type improve communications?  (Try to understand the logic.) 
  4. A judging type and a perceptive type are married.  The judging type likes to keep the house neat and orderly.  The perceptive type likes creative disorder.  How can they resolve this conflict?  (Discuss the options of understanding, communicating, respecting differences or compromising.)

 

A handout, Communication Scenarios, is available for this exercise.  The handouts, Your Personal Communication Style and Communication Exercise are a good follow-ups or a summary of this exercise.  These handouts are in the printed edition. 

 

Practice with Communication

 

Scenarios promote lively and relevant discussion in the classroom.  Here are some additional scenarios:

 

Scenario 1 (Introvert/Extravert)

Mary and Carol are roommates and are discussing paying bills for the apartment that they share.  Mary is upset because Carol paid the phone bill late.  The more that Mary talks, the quieter Carol becomes.  This causes Mary to become even more upset.  Mary starts talking in a loud voice and Carol leaves the room.  How can they improve communication?

 

Instructor Notes: Mary, the extravert, is speaking in a loud voice and not giving Carol the opportunity to communicate.  She gets frustrated and withdraws.  It would be better for Mary to wait until she is not upset to discuss the situation with Carol.  Mary should give Carol time to respond.  Carol needs to make an attempt to communicate. 

 

Scenario 2 (Sensing/Intuitive) 

Write a brief script (10 lines) between a sensing type and an intuitive type.  The topic is, “Does extraterrestrial life exist?” 

 

Instructor Notes:  Remember that the motto of the sensing type is, “Seeing is believing.”  They want the details and facts.  Intuitive types look for possibilities. 

 

Scenario 3 (Thinking/Feeling)

Rachel and Jim have been married about a year.  Rachel complains to Jim that he never says, "I love you" anymore.  Jim replies that he would not have married Rachel if he didn't love her.  How can they improve communication?

 

Instructor Notes: Jim is the thinking type who does not express emotions easily.  He applies logic to the situation.  He would not have married Rachel if he did not love her.  Rachel is the feeling type who needs some reassurance about her husband’s love for her.  Jim can make the effort to tell and show his wife that he loves her.  Rachel can understand that her husband does love her, but will find it difficult or unnecessary to  share his feelings. 

 

Scenario 4 (Judging/Perceptive)

Students in a business class are assigned as a group project to design a business plan. This is an evening class and has mostly adults who have busy schedules with work, family and school.  Mike is a highly motivated student who wants to get the group organized and complete the project quickly.  Mike is getting irritated at John because he cannot decide on a topic and get going.  John keeps coming up with different creative ideas for the business plan.  John is getting irritated at Mike because he thinks that Mike is trying to control the group.  How can this group work together to complete a successful project?

 

Instructor Notes: Mike is the judging type and John is the perceptive type.  If they can learn to work together, they will have an organized and creative project.  They will have learned an important lesson that will be helpful in school and in life. 

 

See the handout, Practice with Communication for this exercise.   

 

 

Demonstration: Win-Win

Ask students to find a partner.  Ask them to decide who is A and who is B.  Tell students that the object of this exercise is to be successful.  Ask student A to make a fist with his or her hand.  Ask student B to open person A’s fist.  Student B tries to force the fist open, but it does not work.   Remind the students that the object of the exercise is to be successful and life is not always about competition.  Explain the concept of win-win and ask the question, “How can both of you win?”  Students soon figure out that the easiest way to be successful is to simply ask the other person to open his or her hand.  It is a win-win solution.  We cannot always achieve a win-win solution, but it is worth aiming for it.  

 

Listening Exercise

One of the keys to successful communication is to first listen and understand and then speak.  This is one of Covey’s Seven Habits of Successful People.  For this exercise, students work in partners.  They are to tell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears one word at a time taking turns with each word.  For example:

            Student 1:  Once

            Student 2:  Upon

            Student 1:   A

            Student 2:  Time

Students will find this simple exercise very difficult and they will quickly discover how important it is to listen first in order to be able to communicate.  Sum up the exercise with a discussion of the importance of listening first in order to understand and then speaking to improve communication.  We have difficulties in communications when we speak first  and leave out the listening part. 

 

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

 

This activity is interesting and produces some humorous results.  Ask the men to go to one side of the room and women go to the opposite side.  Each group discusses the six qualities they think are “must haves” in a mate.  The group recorder takes notes and the reporter presents the list to the class.  The instructor compares the lists and provides information on this topic from the relationships section of the chapter. 

 

Next the groups discuss these questions and report on the results:

 

Men:  What is the worst thing women can do to men?

Women: What is the worst thing men can do to women? 

 

The instructor summarizes with information from the relationships section of the text. 

 

There is a game available based on Gray’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  This game has been successfully used as a group exercise in the chapter on communication and relationships.

 

(Contributed by Carla Edwards, Instructor, Cuyamaca College)

 

Interview Someone over 40

 

Ask students to interview three people over 40 and ask these questions:

 

§         If you were 18 years old again, what would you do differently?

§         What was the best decision that you made between the ages of 18 and 22?

§         What advice would you give to a person who is 18 years old?

 

Have students report their results to the class.  Much of the information from this type of interview relates to continuing education and establishing good relationships.  In the printed edition, this exercise is located at the end of the chapter.  See the Interview worksheet for this exercise.      

 

Effective Communication: “I” and “You” Messages

 

The worksheet on “I” and “You” Messages is challenging for students.  Give them examples and then assign the worksheet as a group project to do in the class.  Walk around the class and provide assistance as needed.

 

Here are some suggested answers to the exercise:

 

Your class is boring.                                     I am bored in this class.

You gave me an “F.”                                     I earned an “F” in this class.

That was a stupid joke.                                I didn’t appreciate that joke.

You don’t understand.                                  We have a misunderstanding.

 

When you arrive late, the dinner gets ruined and we don’t have time to go to the movies as we had planned.  I feel upset.

 

When you talk to me during class, I can’t concentrate or take notes and I get frustrated. 

 

Script Writing

 

Use this exercise as a group activity.  Stress that the object of this exercise is to aim for a win-win solution in which both parties get their needs met.  After the script is rewritten, have two volunteers from each group read or act out the new script with “I” messages.  This exercise can be very entertaining.

 

Again walk around the room and help as needed.  Many will not know how to do this exercise because it is so different from the normal way of handling conflict.  See the Rewrite the Script handout for this exercise.  

 

Feedback Meaning

 

For this exercise you will need two identical sets of 4 or 5 children’s blocks for each group of two students.  Have the students arrange their desks back to back so that they cannot see one another.  Have one person be the sender and make a pattern with the blocks.  The sender describes pattern to the receiver who is to construct the same pattern without looking.  Emphasize the value of feeding back meaning to get clear communication.  When the sender is finished, the students turn around and see if the patterns match.  If they match, they have mastered the feedback meaning concept.  Have students switch the sender and receiver roles and do the exercise again.  If your group is large, you can have three in the group and have one person serve as the observer.  The observer becomes the sender or receiver on the next turn.

 

After the exercise, ask your students these questions for discussion in the class:

 

·        How did you feedback meaning?

·        If it did not work, what went wrong?

·        If it did work, how were you successful?

 

A variation on this exercise is to have the sender draw a picture using only simple shapes such as a square, circle, triangle, heart, star or moon.  The sender describes the drawing to the receiver.  Then compare results to see if the message has been sent and received correctly. 

 

Group Activity: What is a friend?

 

In small groups, have students come up with a definition of “friendship.”  Then have them come up with five qualities of a good friend.  Have one group member write the group’s definition and qualities of a good friend on the board.  Discuss these ideas with the whole class.  See the Friendship handout for this exercise.  It is also located at the end of the chapter in the printed text.      

 

Group Activity: Relationships

 

Have the class brainstorm ideas about what constitutes a good relationship.  Write these ideas on the board.  Then ask students to write down their five most important qualities of a good relationship.  Select students at random and ask them to share their top five qualities of a good relationship.  Finish the exercise by asking students to write a few ideas about how they can improve their current relationships.  Students can also do this exercise on the board.  See the Relationships handout for this exercise.  It is also located at the end of the chapter in the printed text.  

 

A good summary for this exercise is presenting information on green and red flags in a dating relationship.  The Relationship Institute (www.relationship-institute.com/freearticles) has a useful handout on the green flags and red flags in relationships.  The green flags are characteristics of healthy relationships.  The red flags are warning signs of possible future trouble ahead.  Click on this link for the Green Flags/Red Flags handout.   

 

Rating Relationships

 

Using the handout located in the printed text or at the Rating Relationships link, have students think about relationships that work and those that do not work.  Discuss the question, "What are the common reasons that relationships do not work?"

 

Often the class will be surprised by the similarity of each group’s reasons that cause difficulties in relationships.  Common causes for problems in relationships are:

 

Jealousy

Lack of trust

Lack of honesty

Lack of consideration

 

Relationships 101: Having Healthy Relationships in Your First Year of College
This research based article has research based information on relationships.  

 

Video Suggestions

 

The movie, "War of the Roses," has some interesting and humorous scenes that demonstrate the "lose-lose" relationship.  Select some scenes for discussion. 

 

For Online Classes

 

Online Discussion Question

 

Read the chapter, Communications and Relationships, before posting your comments. 

Read the other student's comments and then press the reply button so that you can join in on the conversation.  Please comment on at least 2 of the following scenarios:

 

Scenario 1:

Mary and Carol are roommates and are discussing paying bills for the apartment that they share.  Mary is upset because Carol paid the phone bill late.  The more that Mary talks, the quieter Carol becomes.  This causes Mary to become even more upset.  Mary starts talking in a loud voice and Carol leaves the room.  How can they improve communication?

 

Scenario 2: 

Write a brief script (10 lines) between a sensing type and an intuitive type.  The topic is, “Does extraterrestrial life exist?”  Remember that the motto of the sensing type is, “Seeing is believing.”  They want the details and facts.  Intuitive types look for possibilities. 

 

Scenario 3:

Rachel and Jim have been married about a year.  Rachel complains to Jim that he never says, "I love you" anymore.  Jim replies that he would not have married Rachel if he didn't love her.  How can they improve communication?

 

Scenario 4

Students in a business class are assigned as a group project to design a business plan. This is an evening class and has mostly adults who have busy schedules with work, family and school.  Mike is a highly motivated student who wants to get the group organized and complete the project quickly.  Mike is getting irritated at John because he cannot decide on a topic and get going.  John keeps coming up with different creative ideas for the business plan.  John is getting irritated at Mike because he thinks that Mike is trying to control the group.  How can this group work together to complete a successful project?

 

 

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