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Focus on Culture

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Read Steve’s chapter insert, and answer all the questions posed. Then write a one-page reflection on what you think about the issue and how it pertains to your communication experience. Please refer to at least THREE concepts from the chapter in your response.



Formal study of interpersonal communication occurs almost exclusively in the United States; only a handful of scholars in Great Britain, Europe, Australia, and Asia study and teach interpersonal communication (Knapp et al., 2002).


As of 2009, there are a small number of interpersonal communication courses regularly taught outside the United States (up from one in 20051), but it remains a mostly U.S.-based area of study.


Why isn’t interpersonal communication studied and taught in other cultures? Because it’s not recognized as an academic field of interest. Instead, people view interpersonal communication knowledge and skills as a private matter—to be taught by parents to their children—rather than a public matter to be scientifically examined and taught in school. Min Soo, a student at my university, expresses this view:


Although I’m Korean, I grew up in Bolivia. Schools in Bolivia do not teach interpersonal communication. There’s a good reason for that. Interpersonal communication is considered a personal matter, and people tend to go to their families for that kind of teaching. Bolivian culture, like many other Spanish-speaking countries, values family greatly, and Bolivians believe that the family is the best resource for learning relationship and communication skills. Schools in Bolivia are expected to teach things that cannot be taught by parents—things like math, science, and biology. We understand the importance of interpersonal communication and realize that there’s much to learn about it, but most Bolivians would consider that a nonschool subject.


• Do you believe that interpersonal communication skills should be taught to children in school or left to parents and caregivers to teach?

• Who taught you the interpersonal communication knowledge and skills you currently possess?

• How has your cultural background influenced your view of who should teach interpersonal communication skills to young people?

Film: Driving Miss Daisy

Mrs. ("Miss") Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy), a 72-year-old wealthy Jewish widow, lives in Atlanta, Georgia, alone except for an African American housemaid named Idella (Esther Rolle). In 1948, after a driving mishap where her automobile is wrecked, Miss Daisy’s son, Boolie (Dan Aykroyd), tells her she will have to get a chauffeur because no insurance company will cover her. She refuses, but Boolie is determined to find her one. Meanwhile, she is stuck at home and is unable to run errands.

Boolie finds Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman), who had chauffeured for a local judge until he died and decided to remain in the area rather than accompany the judge's widow when she moved away. Miss Daisy at first refuses to let Hoke drive her, going so far as to walk to the local Piggly Wiggly with Hoke following her by automobile, much to her chagrin. It is revealed that her reluctance to be driven around is because she is embarrassed that people might think she is either too elderly to drive, or so well off that she can pay for a driver. Out of necessity, Miss Daisy gradually starts to accept Hoke and the fact that she needs him to drive her around. She eventually comes to respect him

Please read the assignment carefully and write a good paragraph in response to each of the questions, referring to at least ONE concept in each of the paragraphs.


1. What communication models are the main characters using in the beginning of the film and how does this change as the film progresses? Why do these changes take place?

2. Find two examples of when the characters make full use of all the opportunities the communication context provides them with, and further two examples when they could do a little better, perhaps.

3. What communication approaches does Hoke use to win the favors of Miss Daisy? How do they change, if they do, throughout the movie?

4. Find two episodes that you think highlight the problems that still exist in the society today. Discuss how effectively the characters use their communication in these situations.

5. Find an episode that teaches you something about your own communication. Use the five-step model described by Stephen in the Making Relationship Choices Section to construct a plan of action to improve your communication.



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Читайте в этой же книге: Diener und Dienerinnen | National Research University Higher School of Economics | Chapter 1. Introducing Interpersonal Communication | III. Understanding Communication Models | A. Defining Interpersonal Communication | IX. Issues in Interpersonal Communication | HELPFUL CONCEPTS | I. Components of Self | C. Disclosing Yourself More Effectively | DYSLEXIC ARTIST STORY |
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