Drawing Upon Experience and Research to Improve Future Communications


  • Robert J. Oppenheimer


This paper demonstrates how an assignment is used to have students reflect on their own experience to understand and apply the concepts being covered. The assignment that is described and the exercise that is built upon it are designed to improve the participants’ communication skills. Prior to the class the students complete an assignment that de-scribes a communication breakdown that they contributed to and requires them to assess the extent they applied spe-cific communication principles. Their experiences and the frequency that they applied or failed to apply the communi-cation principles are discussed. After this discussion the students individually plan, and then in small groups, dis-cuss how they will improve their communication effective-ness. Working in those groups they critique each other’s plans and then discuss the communication skills they ap-plied while they were reviewing each other’s plans. The class concludes with a debriefing of the key learning points.