Chapter 1: AN INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION THEORY

 

Anticipated outcomes:

On the completion of this chapter the reader should be competent to:

*    describe various communication models and differentiate between
     them;

*    evaluate the various communication models as approximations of the
     interpersonal communication process;

*    identify factors that hinder and facilitate effective interpersonal
     communication;

*    recognise the relationship between communication and interpersonal
     power;

*    analyse the relationship between persuasion and response, attitude
     and action;

*    identify and respond to various ethical issues, from a Christian
     perspective, in interpersonal communication.

Learning faciliator guide:

Where students have studied interpersonal communication theory formally there is not need to repeat the basic theory of models but there are subjects included in the chapter that are rarely, if ever, considered in the study of communication theory, these should be included. These subjects are:

* reasons for communicating;

* communication context - where culture is introduced as a context that
  is not normally considered in a monocultural setting;

* an extrasensory communication model related particularly to
  communication between us and God;

* communication competency;

* interpersonal power in communication;

* communication ethics.

If persuasive strategies are studied it should be noted that these should be employed with ethical consideration that is God honouring. Also, these strategies are specific to Westerized cultures. Non-Western cultures will employ quite different strategies.

Exercises:

1. Make a list of characteristics of Jesus? communication practice that show him to be a receptor-oriented communicator par excellence.

2. Make a list of 'openers' and 'closers' you use in several conversations.  Compare these with those used by a person from another culture who uses English as a second language.

3. Analyze a recent conversation you have engaged in where there was  misunderstanding.  What was the cause of misunderstanding and what could you do to minimize such misunderstanding in future communications?

4. Identify two different situations in which Jesus challenges people's beliefs (worldview assumptions).  Prepare a brief message designed to challenge a biblically incompatible worldview belief of a person who shares your culture.

5. Think about a recent conversation (yours or another person?s) and identify whether and what words were used to establish a position of power over another person.

6. What ethical issues are raised by the following report by a Christian organisation? 

         In India, as in many countries where [the mission] operates,
         more and more Christians are suffering for their faith.  Last
         October, for instance, nearly 60,000 uniformed men and boys
         travelled to Agra, in North India, to rally against so-called
         "foreign contamination".  Such incidents are occurring all too
         frequently, making the job of [the mission] even more
         challenging and vital.  With plans to distribute Bibles
         throughout India this year, the [mission] needs your help.[1]

7.Search for a Christian media communication that raises ethical questions and write your thoughts on the issues raised.  Perhaps you could send your thoughts to the media source.

 

1.  The source is known to the author but withheld.