Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Adjourning in Teamwork

We've been learning this week that there are five stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. We were asked to think through the adjourning process of team work.

When I think through the groups that I've been a part of, I think the toughest ones to leave are the ones where I have grown more as a person or have made some of my favorite memories because of them. The easiest ones to leave have been more on the academic side, like group projects or even when I've graduated (in the general sense-both times I had friends that were really hard to leave).

In highschool I was a part of several clubs and activities-my goal was to have more activities next to my name in my yearbook then one of my uncle's had next to theirs (I think I won). In that list of ridiculousness, was drama. I had the privilege of being a part of set design for two of our school's productions-at the end of each production there were several rituals we followed-making Congo lines to some great music and parading around the school hallway was one of my favorites. Honestly some of those traditions became something that we looked forward to just as much as the actual production, even though it meant that all of our handwork was coming to an end. But the traditions of the ending, made the closure or adjourning parts just as famous as the rest of the project.

Each missions trip I've gone on has been hard to leave. They were hard because I discovered more of myself and on each trip I grew more spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. Each trip I poured a piece of myself out in blood, sweat, and tears and left that piece behind in a different town/state/country and I shared those memories with people that at the beginning of the week I hardly knew, but by the end of the week I would lay my life down for.

I'm a little over half way done with my master's program. The interesting part about doing this program online is I'm not interacting with my peers the same way I did in college, when I could see them face to face and hang out with them after class. There are a few that I've had multiple classes with, some I've only had 1 class with at a time. I don't know any of them well enough to miss them personally, but I will miss being challenged to grow more in my understanding of early childhood, but I'm also looking forward to running into them or their name in the future, stumbling upon a journal article or an idea that's been published on early childhood, and recognizing their name or blog.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Communication in Conflict

Communication in conflict is probably one of the most important times for communication, it can either escelate the argument or diffuse it. 

This week we've been studying different techniques for communication in times of conflict, especially with families at our center or with co-workers. Reflecting back on some of those moments that have occurred, I think I would now do things a little differently.

The most common disagreement with co-workers has to do with scheduling, as I'm the one who makes the schedule. Either I've missed something they've requested or they're not happy with what we have them scheduled for. In the past, more often then not, in those moments I would start formulating my response before they've even finished talking. This past week I tried really hard to engage and listen to someone's complaint, but honestly when they were done talking I had nothing to respond back with. We've been studying the 3 R's: respectful, reciprocal, and responsive. I was trying so hard to be respectful and listen intently that I really lost the ideas of being reciprocal and responsive in return, I had no idea where to go with the conversation or conflict. Looking forward those are two areas that I need to really work on when it comes to conflicts in scheduling.

When I think through some of the parent conflicts that we've had, some of them have been minor, and some have been really major. The Nonviolent Communication Method may have been helpful for some of the more minor parent conflicts. NVC is NOT about getting people to do what we want. It is about creating a quality of connection that gets everyone’s needs met through compassionate giving. I think if on our end as a school, if we can continue to try to be compassionate and understanding through any conflict, it may help to come to a more positive solution.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Personal Communication

This week for our class, we had to take some personal assessments for our communication in three different categories and then have other people complete the same assessment about us too.

When looking at communication anxiety, my husband and I both scored myself differently. I scored myself at 44 in the mild category while he scored me at 59 in the moderate category. He said it was hard for him to really evaluate me, even though he's seen and heard me speak lots of times, he had a hard time knowing how if I personally felt anxiety or not. I would say that realistically I have low anxiety speaking, except right before I actually speak, and then it spikes extremely high!

For the listening one my husband and I both rated me in the category of being a people-oriented listener who listens with relationships in mind. I would say that is a good assessment of how I value listening as a part of communication.

It's interesting how sometimes people can see you the same way you see yourself, and sometimes they can see you in a completely different light.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Different Communication to Different People

Do I communicate to other groups of people differently?

I think that I would like to say no, I'm the exact same person no matter where I'm at or who I'm with. Except I know that's not really true in reality.

When I communicate with Christians I probably throw an extra "it's all in God's timing" or a "oh I'll be praying hun" for good measure. But when I'm communicating to non-Christian's I try to stay away from Christian lingo, it's more general.

When I communicate to mom's I talk a lot about my kids, what they're doing right now, what we're struggling with, etc. When I communicate to women who aren't mom's yet I talk more about fashion, weather, date nights, movies, etc.

When I communicate to someone I'm trying to impress I gauge what they're interested in. When I communicate to my best friend or my husband I'm real and honest. When I communicate to my family, I laugh a lot.

I try really hard to not wear masks around people, to be authentic. But I also don't want to look like a fool, so I try to read demographics and locations. Like knowing when to say pop or soda, buggy, or shopping cart, carriage or stroller.

I really do communicate with people differently, mostly because I want each person I communicate with to hear me or to know me better on whatever level we're on.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mute Communication

For an assignment this week, we had to watch an episode of a show we've never seen before, but with the sound off, to analyze communication styles, the character's relationships, and non-verbal cues.

I chose the show The Grinder, from Fox, solely based on the fact that my husband has really been wanting to watch this show.

As the show opens you see a family watching a season finale of a tv show called the Grinder. The main character of that show appears to be a lawyer, as they pan on the family watching the show, that main actor (Rob Lowe) is sitting there, with whom I'm guessing is his brother (Fred Savage), his brother's wife, their 2 kids, and I'm guessing the brother's dad. Everyone in the room, except Fred's character, seemed very excited about the tv show. It clips to Fred's character who seems like he's venting to his wife, but they appear like they really love each other, as she tries to cheer him up. Their son knocks on the door and looks like he may be mimicking his uncle's tv show character.

As the show progresses I gather that the brothers really do like each other and have a great relationship with their dad. Fred's character is a lawyer in real life, but it seems like everyone else around him is turning to his brother (Rob), the actor who portrays a lawyer, for legal advice, including a negotiation at the dinner table between Rob's character and his nephew on one side and his niece and her boyfriend on the other side.

There is also this portrayal of the real lawyer being more of a homely character while the actor is all styled up, until mid-way through the episode where it looks like the actor is trying to pretend he is a real lawyer, and now seems like he's looking or acting like his brother.

It was interesting how much more I paid attention to other detail of their body language, clothing attire, if someone had a wedding ring or not, and facial expressions, when I didn't have the sound and dialogue to lean back on. It was hard though because as much as I forced myself to pay attention, it was hard to not feel lost. It would have been a lot easier if I had already seen this show or knew the characters because I would have already had context, foundation, and known plot lines to go off of to determine what was going on.

We re-watched the episode, with sound this time. It was definitely a lot funnier with the audio! And it turns out that the brother (Fred) really didn't like having his brother around, they weren't as close as I thought they were. And his wife wasn't trying to cheer him up, she was actually making fun of him. But yes everyone else was preferring "Rob's" legal advice over the real lawyer's.

All in all I was probably 50-50 on figuring out communication. Which honestly proves that listening, really listening, is the strongest communication asset that we have and when it's not used there are so many misunderstandings that can occur.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Competent Communication

This week marked the year anniversary of starting my master's degree, I started my 7th class in said master's degree, Keven officially ended year 2 of being back at school, and I was officially ordained (more on that to come later)! It's been a busy week :)

But with a new class comes an entirely new topic to explore through blogging. This one happens to be communication, pretty convenient for a blog. This week we have to think of someone that has competent communication, what makes them effective, and what would we want to model from them.

I decided to take a deeper look at Rev. George O. Wood. He is the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and was the speaker at our Ordination Ceremony this past week.

Rev. George O. Wood speaking during the Ordination Ceremony

He spoke with confidence, made great eye contact, and had a message that really met each person where they were at. His downfall was that he was a little long winded, but it was filled with great content. The thing that stood out to me the most about his message was his use of visual aides (a giant power point presentation behind him with pictures that reinforced each point of his message) and the fact that his speech was filled with stories. Most of his stories were not personal to him, he retold of gallant efforts of people of the Assemblies of God that had done amazing things. But he made each story personal, he told them in a way that made you feel as if you were listening to Grandpa tell you about all of your late relatives. Rev. George Wood invited each person into the story, to not only listen and learn something, but to place yourself in their shoes.

In my own personal communication, I know I need to get better at memorization and eye contact. I have a bad habit of relying too heavily on my notes if their in front of me. But I also want to incorporate more story-telling in my sermons/speeches. Story-telling is a lost art form, but can be very powerful when applied correctly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Professional Hopes and Goals

This class on Diversity finishes this week! My 6th master's class is almost done! I have 5 left, I'm officially over half way there. So it's time for my last blog post for this class.

-One hope about diversity: I look at my own kids and I have hope in them. I see them make friends with kids who are different from them, they may have a different color of skin, or different abilities, or be a different gender, but my kids don't see that. All they see is that they are friends with this really nice girl or boy. I want to be more like my own kids and I want to continue to teach that to the other children I work with, that they should get to know someone's heart first before they make a decision about them.

-One goal for the early childhood field: I think that each person that works with children should be required to take professional development hours in the topics of diversity regardless of the location of their center/school. Too many people put diversity into a racial box and say that it has nothing to do with their school because everyone there is the same race. However, diversity goes way beyond that and encompasses everyone. If more teachers were received continued education in diversity, we would have a better chance of passing on a good viewpoint of diversity onto the following generations.

-I'm thankful for this class, and to all of my colleagues and classmates. I've learned a lot from each of you, thank you.