Rhode Island College Learning

This assignment is intended as a vehicle through which you can work to improve your skills in an interpersonal context.  It is titled, “Learning to Learn” because the ultimate goal is to provide you with a set of procedures that will allow you to work on your communication skills well after you have left this course.

There are 3 main parts of this assignment, which should be done in sequence.  In order to begin, start thinking about your daily interactions.  Think of a situation in which you felt uncomfortable/unsatisfied with your encounter.  For example:

Situations where you felt nervous about approaching a particular individual

Situations where you were attempting to avoid discussing a particular topic

Situations where you had set an interpersonal goal, but knew you had not achieved it.

Situations where you felt dissatisfied by the results, unheard, or ignored.

Situations where the other person gave you negative feedback (e.g., they said, “just forget it,” “you never listen to me,” “you’re so insensitive,” “you don’t care,” etc.)

Situations where you or your partner said, “we’ve been through this a million times before.”

Recall the details to the best of your ability. Note both verbal and nonverbal interactions.  Note the time and place of the interaction, etc. In the cases where you were avoiding either the person or the given topic, note how you did this, why you think you did this, and how the other responded to your avoidance. 

At this point, you should be ready to work on the Learning to Learn assignment. 

The paper is divided into three parts to help you organize.  Here are the three parts:

Part I: Focusing on the Problem

Describe a set of interpersonal communication skills you would like to develop, or an undesired repetitive pattern (URP) that you would like to break.  Include a discussion of the problems it creates for you or the needs that do not get fulfilled because of the problem.  Be specific. 

Describe in narrative form a specific event where the skill needed or the URP was experienced.  Include sample dialogue.  Keep the following in mind: 

–What relationship did you have with this person? 

–Where did it take place? 

–When in your relationship development (if relevant)? 

–Were there important events that came before?

–What were the major issues or concerns?

–What feelings were present?

–What behaviors were present?

–What type of language was used?

Describe other common situations where the same skill need is present or where the URP is likely to occur.

Assess how often or how likely this URP or lack of skill is likely to be an issue.

Part II: Plan for Working on Change

Once you have a firm handle on the problem you want to work on, you need to take a look at the textbook for ideas about alternative behaviors.  The chapter or chapters in your text which address the areas you are working on will provide bother prescriptions for types of behaviors that may be appropriate.  Once you have reread through the information, you can begin Part II.

Choices, alternatives, and strategies:  Identify and write out at least 2 possible, realistic choices, alternatives and/or strategies for improved interpersonal interaction for your identified problem.  Please cite appropriate references. 

Describe what you will be able to do when you have completed your development program or what the interaction will look like without this URP.  Where, when, and with whom do you wish to use this skill in particular?

Part III: Assessing Change

Here is where you will set specific goals and ways in which you will measure change.

Describe in detail what you would accept as evidence that you are making progress on your skill development.  For example:  Three conversations with a particular person without a URP.

Whenever you make changes in your behavior, there may be some consequences, whether positive or negative.  It is important to discover these before implementing a program of action and these consequences have to be taken into consideration.  If, for example, the changed behaviors you choose involve other persons close to you and the way you interact with them, it is important to consider how these new actions may affect these ongoing interactions.  Consider both positive and negative, as well as both short term and long-term consequences of your new action and write down in specific terms.  This part should be FULLY developed, as it is important to think about the consequences and to realize that, while you can control your behavior, you cannot depend upon controlling the behavior of others.  This part should also be documented with the text.

Think about how this change might be maintained and become part of your interpersonal repertoire.  How can you prevent backsliding?  What can you do if your strategy doesn’t work?  Again, think through this carefully and write about this thoughtfully.

Are there any other situations in which you can use this strategy or skill? 


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