Week 7 Blog

Arnett (2009) says it best when he says we live in “an era defined by difference”(p.210). What this means is that as a society we are constantly facing conflict and different points of view on a daily basis. This has become even more prevalent with the introduction of social media. Social media has been around, roughly, 15 years. This “medium” allows for more people to get out more ideas quickly. What we do with these ideas, and how we accept them, is where communication ethics literacy comes into play.

Since the Internet offers an illusion of anonymity, people feel they can put their ideas out there without thinking about how it will affect others. On my personal Facebook feed, I see my friends and acquaintances post about their opposition to guns, transgender people, and breastfeeding in public. Even though I don’t agree with most of their viewpoints, I still “follow” them and allow their posts to pop up on my page.

Conflicting views are the spice of life. Yes, it’s awesome when you can get people to side with your viewpoint, but at the same time…how boring would it be if we all believed the same thing? I’m the director of debate at my university, and I would lose my job if we all agreed J!! The key to increase communication ethics literacy is to learn to accept differing ideas.

The steps to increase communication ethics literacy are the same for all arenas of life.   The text gives a great example when it talks about different dorms. Many colleges have “honors” dorms, and “single sex” dorms. They leave options available to students to pick their “good”. They know that “multiple views of the good exist and contend for attention in the ongoing postmodern marketplace of ideas” (Arnett et al., 2009, p. 211).

Going back to my own personal Facebook page. Working in communication and also having a degree in English, I get the concept of differing ideas. However, many people only want to see their side, and disregard anything that opposes them. It’s easy to get into the trap of arguing on the Internet over silly notions because we get wrapped up in what people say. For me, I just want people to be less narrow-minded and acknowledge the fact that there IS another side to their story. As a debate teacher and coach, I guess this is just innate. I want them to see that they cannot “assume that the Other will think as they (we) do or value what they (we) hold dear” (Arnett et al., 2009, p.212). Now I know I can’t change other people, only myself. To increase my communication ethics literacy, I need to take my “responsibility to learn and discern” and apply it to personal and other settings I encounter. I know that I don’t know everything. Being open-minded and accepting differing view points will make me more literate when it comes to communication ethics.

Arnett, R. C., Harden Fritz, J. M., & Bell, L. M. (2009). Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference. Los Angeles: Sage.

Week 6 Blog

I don’t often get ill, but I do recall one time when I was exceptionally sick my first year teaching high school. I was a brand new teacher wrapping up my first year as a high school English teacher. I came down with laryngitis, which is not good, especially since I was also the speech and debate coach at the time. At the end of the school year we give finals and I was also scheduled to take the speech and debate team to Alabama for their national tournament. Being ill, and having laryngitis (which meant I couldn’t talk), made the last few days of school quite difficult.

Seeing that I was in pain and unable to speak, my principal offered several suggestions for me to successfully finish my school year and take my team to Alabama. My first problem was going to be the final exams. Being the administrator for the tests, I would have to speak the majority of the time. My principal was helpful, in that she was able to get parent volunteers to help with testing. These parents would be trained and able to be the administrator for the tests. This worked perfectly for me because I was unable to speak. I was able to serve as the proctor and my job was merely passing out materials.

Since laryngitis takes about a week to heal, I was not out of the dark with my trip to Alabama. I was anxious because I was going to be in charge of several students, taking them to another state by plane, and I couldn’t speak…

Luckily, my principal was (is) amazing and was able to find an assistant to come with me. I had to go as the head coach, because that was the only way my students could compete. Having the assistant made the trip with the students much smoother. My assistant was my voice for the first part of the trip, which made the whole experience much more enjoyable for everyone. I was fortunate to have been able to go and to have the help!

According to Arnett (2009), professional communication ethics promotes “goods of survival and competitiveness in the marketplace” (178). Now, a high school is not a “marketplace”, but it does need to survive and it does have a sense of competition. Schools are graded on how well students do on the end of year tests. Even though I was sick, I couldn’t just leave my school and students hanging. I, along with my principal, had to come up with a solution. I was willing to be there and give my time, while receiving help from the parent volunteer and my principal. Again, with the national competition, I received help from another volunteer.

Having a strong leader, like my principal, allowed me to negotiate and figure ways to finish up the school year strong even though I was ill. Strong leaders promote a strong communication ethic and help to achieve the common goal.

Arnett, R. C., Harden Fritz, J. M., & Bell, L. M. (2009). Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference. Los Angeles: Sage.

Week 5 Blog

I’m apart of a very unique community.  In 2009, I was introduced to the world of circus arts.  I started taking classes on the trapeze, silks, and many other apparatuses.  Since then, I’ve performed in many shows and also taught a few classes as well.  The organization is called Air Born Aerials, and I’m apart of a community of aerialists.  Being apart of a smaller group that is in turn apart of a large group of people, one can see how “organizations are holders of a ‘community of memory'”.

There are aerialists all over the world, and the longer I train and work with aerial arts the more I learn about this community. Arnett (2009) states, “what makes a community of memory possible is not ‘me’, but those who have come before the persons who now work at the telling of a given memory at a given time and emergent new insights that become part of the communicative life recorded in a community of memory”(146).  Being apart of my group for so long, I’ve noticed that things “change”.  The dynamics are not the same and the group of people shift year after year.  I live in a military town, so this is not unusual.  Creating this community of memory comes with the new and old people coming together.  The goods we protect are safety (first and foremost), tricks, and performances.  The safety aspect of the community never changes, but the tricks and performances do.  We all like to portray different tricks (maybe from other aerial communities) and our performances change as we grow as aerialists.  The performances also change because we fix problems that arise.  According to Arnett (2009), “we live in communities that are alive with memory– memory of the past that engages the present and the future”(147).

As with any organization, there can come a point of conflict. The aerial arts is a large community in the world, and each smaller community has their own sense of what is safe.  For example, my group doesn’t feel that we should hang equipment from trees or other parts of nature.  We believe this because nature is unpredictable and we do everything in our power to be safe.  Other communities in the aerial world hang equipment from trees and nature all the time. This creates a “rhetorical interruption” because we do not all “share the same narrative ground” ( Arnett, 2009,p.96).

Say I move and decide to join a new aerial group.  They may feel that hanging equipment on trees is all right and this is a normal practice for them. Maybe they haven’t experienced problems, however, my community has taught me that this is “unsafe”.  To deal with this interruption, I will have to change my mindset and narrative.  Being around a new group of aerialists will help me see that this is not unsafe, but just a different environment to practice aerial.

Arnett, R. C., Harden Fritz, J. M., & Bell, L. M. (2009). Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference. Los Angeles: Sage.