Culture plays a primary role in how we communicate with each other. As human services workers, we often encounter individuals whose cultural perspective is very different from our own. Knowing the key elements that differentiate cultures, as well as our own cultural orientation, is important in being able to communicate effectively. In this discussion, you will be describing aspects of cultural difference that may impact interpersonal communication. You will also be reporting on your own cultural orientation.
Read Chapter 2 from The Interpersonal Communication Book. In addition, answer the fourteen questions on your cultural orientation found on pp. 35 – 36.
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Reflect on the findings of the cultural orientation test that you completed. How did this help you to understand your own cultural orientation? Were there some elements that really made sense to you while others did not? How did this compare to what you read about differing components of a cultural orientation? How would you describe your own specific cultural orientation (not just as the United States or your country or origin)?
Initial Post: Prepare a 300-word minimum reply that sufficiently addresses each of the items below:
- Based on what you read in the textbook, describe at least three factors can that be used to understand a culture.
- Describe the impact of culture, as a whole, on communication.
- Discuss your own cultural orientation in relation to these three factors.
- Explain how understanding a cultural orientation may aid in interpersonal communication in a human services work setting. Please use at least one example in your explanation.
Much of what we know about how we communicate and engage on a daily basis is guided by theory. Theories provide useful and informative frames of reference that help explain different phenomena. Have you ever tried to understand the motivation behind a person’s actions or habits? Or perhaps questioned a technique or approach a professional might use when working with a client? If so, it is more than likely that some type of theory was involved. In this discussion, you will have an opportunity to read about various communication theories and describe them within different contexts.
Read the following communication theories: Constructivism, Attachment (Links to an external site.), Communication Accommodation (Links to an external site.), and Attribution (Links to an external site.).
Initial Post: Reflect on the significance and application of the theories presented and prepare a 300-word minimum post that sufficiently addresses each of the items below:
- Briefly describe each of the communication theories that are presented.
- Describe how two of the communication theories can be applied in a health and human services setting. For example, how can constructivist theory be used to understand people’s views of the world in human services work? How can levels of attachment, as related to the attachment theory, be used by human service professionals to understand client needs?
It’s All About the Words
Typically, we think of verbal communication as the words that we use to convey messages. The reading for this week helps us see that other things may be communicated through our verbal messages beyond the actual words used. Our choice of words and how they are conveyed can have a tremendous impact on our interactions with others, including clients and colleagues in human services settings. In this first discussion forum for the week, you will review a fictional case study in which you will be asked to provide examples of effective verbal communication techniques in a human services setting.
Read Chapter 4 of The Interpersonal Communication Book and review the summary information found on page 107. Last week we discussed how a cultural framework might shape the meaning or understanding of communication. What other factors may determine the message conveyed through verbal messages? Consider some principles of verbal messages that would be important for working with clients in human services settings. Would these principles also apply to working with colleagues or community members? Think about some guidelines that could help us communicate more effectively with others.
Case Study: You have a new job as a case manager in an assisted living facility for individuals over the age of 65. Part of your job is to help new residents get settled in to the facility, including explaining activities that are available to them. You also try to help new residents become part of the community at the residence. John is a 70-year-old man who has recently moved into your facility. You discover that John has a slight hearing impairment which affects his ability to both communicate as well as participate in group activities, and you must consider this when interacting with him. Up until now, he has only lived in his own home. Using this case as your example, please address the following:
- Discuss two factors that are a part of verbal communication, beyond the actual words themselves that might be important in your first meeting with John.
- Using information found in Table 4.1 (page 94) of your text, provide two or three examples of effective verbal communication techniques that you could use to engage with John within this particular setting. Describe one communication theory that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
- Describe one communication theory from Week One’s required website reading (i.e., constructivist, attachment, communication accommodation, attribution) that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
- What do you think may make it more personally difficult for you to communicate effectively with John? Why do you believe this to be the case?
Initial Post: Prepare a 300-word minimum reply that sufficiently addresses each of the items above. Don’t forget that it is critical to cite your sources of information, including the textbook, in APA format.
It’s Not All About the Words
While verbal communication is just one way of articulating messages to others, it’s not the only skill that human service professionals need to utilize when working with clients. Nonverbal communication carries significant weight when it comes to conveying messages of all sorts. In this discussion forum, you will have an opportunity to provide examples of effective nonverbal communication techniques appropriate to a human services setting.
Read Chapter 5 from The Interpersonal Communication Book and watch the following video, People Skills:Communicating without Words (Links to an external site.) retrieved from the Films On Demand database.
Reflect on your own experience regarding nonverbal messages. Have there been situations in your life when the nonverbal messages were much clearer than the verbal messages? What about times when the words that were spoken did not match the nonverbal cues? How is online communication different in terms of nonverbal messages? What kinds of messages do you send nonverbally via your style of dressing or mannerisms? How would nonverbal messages affect your communication with clients or colleagues?
Spend approximately ten minutes observing two or more individuals in conversation at a coffee shop, store, or work environment. It is best if you observe individuals that you do not know. Please be respectful and unobtrusive in your observation. As an alternative, you can observe the interactions between characters on a television show. Following your observation and using your textbook as a guide, please respond to the questions below for your discussion post. If you are basing your post on television characters, please identify the show.
Initial Post: Prepare a 300-word minimum reply that sufficiently addresses each of the items below. Don’t forget that it is critical to cite your sources of information, including the textbook, using APA formatting:
What nonverbal messages did you observe?
- How did the nonverbal messages or cues aid in communicating effectively?
- What consistencies or inconsistencies between verbal and nonverbal messages did you observe?
- Provide examples of effective nonverbal communication techniques (either by those you observed/watched or from those in the text) that you could use as a professional in a health and human services setting. How and why would you use them?
- DeVito, J.A. (2016). The interpersonal communication book (14th ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu
- Chapter 1: Foundations of Interpersonal Communication (pp. 1-28)
- Chapter 2: Culture and Interpersonal Communication (pp. 29-52)
- Chapter 3: Perception the of the Self and Others in Interpersonal Communication (pp. 53-80)
1. DeVito, J.A. (2016). The interpersonal communication book (14th ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu
- Chapter 4: Verbal Messages (pp. 81-108)
- Chapter 5: Nonverbal Messages (pp. 109-146)
- Changing Minds. (2002). Attachment theory (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/attachment.htm
- This website discusses Attachment Theory and will be used to complete this week’s second discussion forum.
- Changing Minds. (2002). Attribution theory (Links to an external site.).Retrieved from http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/attribution_theory.htm
- This website discusses Attribution Theory and will be used to complete this week’s second discussion forum.
- Changing Minds. (2002). Communication Accommodation Theory (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/communication_accomodation.htm
- This website discusses Communication Accommodation Theory and will be used to complete this week’s second discussion forum.
- Constructivism. (2017).
- This document discusses Constructivism Theory and will be used to complete this week’s second discussion forum.
1. Matsumoto, D., & Hwang, H. C. (2016). The cultural bases of nonverbal communication. In APA handbook of nonverbal communication. (pp. 77–101). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1037/14669-004
- The full-text version of this article is available through Ashford University’s Proquest database This article provides information about nonverbal communication that will assist you in your assignment and discussions this week.
1. Quarry, P. & Ash, E. (Writers & Producers). (1998). People skills: Communicating without words.
- This video can be accessed through the Films On Demand database in the Ashford University Library.
- This video presents ways in which people communicate without words and will be used as part of the second discussion forum.
2. Understanding Body Language [Video file]. (2001). Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=100753&xtid=49912
- Body language can tell us about feelings, motivations, and attitudes. This video teaches viewers that understanding body language can help improve their communication. Topics covered in this program include being aware of your own body language; learning to read others’ body language; body language for presentations; and body language for selling, conflict, and becoming more expressive. Viewable/printable educational materials are available online. (14 minutes)
- The full-length version of this video is available through Ashford University Library’s Films on Demand database. This video provides information about body language that will assist you in your assignment and discussions this week.
1. Bernstein, R. (2017, March 28). 7 cultural differences in nonverbal communication (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from https://online.pointpark.edu/business/cultural-differences-in-nonverbal-communication/
- This web page provides information about the use of nonverbal communication that will assist you in your assignment and discussions this week.
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