Communication in Everyday Life by Steve Duck (Author), David T. McMahan
Chapter 1: An Overview of Everyday Communication
1. Pair up student volunteers who are known to be friends and have them discuss the topic “What I did during the vacation” in front of the class. Now pair up student volunteers who do not know one another and have them discuss the same topic in front of the class. What differences do the class members notice between the ways in which the topics are discussed in the two cases?
2. Bend a paper clip in front of the class and announce that from now on a bent paper clip will be referred to as an “abdak.” Describe how the symbol “abdak” is abstract and arbitrary just like the symbol “chair” or any other symbols you choose. You may wish to further describe how the use of the symbol “abdak” can possibly develop and take on new meaning. Someday telling someone to “abdak off” may be slanderous.
3. Have a student volunteer look out of the window and give a representational weather forecast, as if s/he were on TV. Now have him or her give a presentational one. What’s the difference? Which kind of forecast do the students think they normally get on TV [Warning: This exercise does not work in Iowa]
4. Have the students pick a symbol that is prevalent in society and discuss how it should be changed and what it should be changed into. Why is the new form better than the old and what is bad about the old one?
5. Students should look around the class and identify all the symbols that they can see on other classmates along with the meaning of those symbols. Compare lists and discuss any similarities and differences between interpretations of the meanings.