Our national communication habits dominate my thoughts. In thinking about current communication acts, I return to the transactional model of communication I first studied in ninth grade.
This simple diagram of the communication process falls short as a model for the complicated ways we communicate in the 21st Century, which includes online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, and Twitter.
Understanding that transactional communication defies simple models from the 1970s, an early task I give students--before the aforementioned role play--involves working w/ a group to diagram the communication process. Before completing this task, we often have a breakdown (interference) in communication because students need an understanding of process before they can diagram or illustrate communication as a process.
I've tasked students with this activity for many years because I learn a lot about their communication from it. I observe their groups and listen to their presentations. I get a sense of their work ethics, their critical thinking skills, their leadership ability, their creativity, their confidence and self-doubt, the way they interact w/ peers, their ability to present ideas, etc.
|Student Group example of the Communication Process|
Students often think Fundamentals of Communication (the official course name) means they'll give speeches. End of story. As important as learning to construct and present speeches, citizens need effective communication in all its incarnations:
- one to one communication (interpersonal communication)
- one to group communication (interpersonal communication)
- group to group communication (interpersonal communication)
- self communication (intrapersonal communication)
- channel/medium (the how of sending a message)
- interference (breakdowns in communication)
- Is President Trump's use of social media "Modern Day Presidential"?
- Do we make communication great by privileging a one-to-group, 140 character mode over traditional ways past presidents have communicated?
- And is this form of communication a return to tradition?