SPHSC 308 Social Cultural Aspects of Communication

Experiential Learning Activities Winter 2010


Experiential Learning Activities

This course has several experiential activities that are designed to illustrate course content. Each activity is designed to get you involved in class discussion!  Many of the assignments will require you to do work before class, but the emphasis will be on what we do IN CLASS, as we build on your contributions.  Each  activity is described briefly below.  SEE THE SYLLABUS FOR DATES THESE ARE DUE! 

Activity 1:  Situational Context - Observation

We will watch a videotape in class.  You will be observing and making objective and subjective notes on what you see; this is the "thick description" section.  (Don't forget to put your subjective notes in brackets.)  The thick description should focus on the situational context: the immediate environment and how the participants perform in this context. Following the observation, review your thick description and look for patterns in performance in relationship to the situational context.  This is the "interpretation" section.  We will be discussing the two sections of the observation.   You will be handing in your thick description and interpretation after class.   5 points

Activity 2:  Social Context - Review of Systems Theory - Discussion of Book

The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman was selected to illustrate social and cultural contextual influences on communication.  The book provides many examples that illustrate concepts related to systems theory and cultural practices. For this activity, you will have been expected to read at least the first 6-8 chapters in the book.  Your assignment is to do the following:  1) identify the two major systems in this story,  2) list the primary members in each of the systems, 3) describe the functional and psychological roles of each member you have identified, 4) briefly describe the boundaries of each system.  During our class time we will be discussing systems theory as it relates to the book.  Please type your answers and hand them in after class.   10 points

Activity 3:  Cultural Context:  Definition of Culture

Culture has many definitions.  From a sociological perspective, we will be reviewing various definitions and coming to a common conceptual understanding about the term.  Each of you should look up a definition or model for "culture."  Feel free to use the internet, text books, general books, or other references.  Here are your instructions:  1) Write out your definition of culture, 2) Indicate the  reference or references for your definition, 3)  Provide an example to illustrate the definition.  Bring these three sections to class – typed.  During class you will be working in small groups to come up with a definition of culture to present for discussion; we'll then agree as a whole on basic elements for our definition.  Please type your response and hand it in after class.   5 points

Activity 4:  Cultural Context: Review of Culture - Discussion of Book

You should almost be done with The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.  Based on what you have read, identify and describe two cultural practices that we have in western, mainstream American culture that were illustrated by the physicians in the book.  Next, consider these two cultural practices from the Lee's perspective.  Describe whether the Lee's shared one or both of these cultural practices.  If shared, describe how the Lee's cultural practices were similar?  If not shared, describe how the Lee's cultural practices were different   (i.e., describe the Lee's different cultural practices).   During our class time we will be discussing cultural practices as they relate to the book.  Please type your answers and hand them in after class.  10 points

Activity 5:  Disabilities: Scenarios and Interview Questions

You will be presented with case scenarios that involve individuals with disabilities. You will need to consider the social-cultural variables that would influence how you would manage the individual. You will work in groups to decide what is the major issue of concern (problem), and how to best approach your case  in a culturally sensitive manner. You will be asked to identify the major concern, design an observation and generate phenomenologic interview questions as a way to learn more about the individuals in the scenarios. Scenarios will be discussed in class and information generated by the group will be submitted.  5 points