Example No. 6 (Time required: 1 hour)

If you are teaching a class in which you will be using student teams and choose to invest a homework assignment and an entire class period in helping your students develop their communication skills, then you might select the following learning objectives and use the following classroom activities:

Learning Objective Students will be able to discuss interpersonal and intrateam communication and be aware of strengths and pitfalls in communicating with teammates.

Classroom Activity Ask students to read this entire document as a homework assignment. Present a mini-lecture to students that, although they have additional information about effective communication, many times we do not feel comfortable providing criticism or asking a person to elaborate more when talking with them. Share with students the information below about reacting assertively.

Reacting Assertively
What does it mean to be aggressive, passive, or assertive? People are aggressive when they

  • Intentionally attack, harm, hurt, put down, or work to take advantage of others
  • Believe they are more important than others
  • Believe “get them before they get you.”

People are passive when they

  • Permit or let others take advantage of them
  • Act as if others are more important than they are
  • Believe “I should never make anyone feel uncomfortable or displeased except myself.”

People are assertive when they

  • Express themselves openly and honestly to communicate their needs, wants, feelings, or desires
  • Respect the thoughts and feelings of others
  • Believe that all people are equal and act accordingly
  • Believe “I have a right to ask for what I want.”

Many people think there are only two options when communicating with others: either be aggressive or be passive. There is a third alternative to engaging in communication, particularly when there is conflict, and that is reacting assertively. Assertiveness is valuable because it allows all people talking the opportunity to be respected and to hear what each one is saying.

Team Interaction Ask team members to share with each other how they typically communicate: aggressively, passively, or assertively.

(Exercise reprinted with permission.10)


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