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H808 – The influence of audience (SA8.4)

December 28, 2010

Here we go my first supplementary activity, well I tried before to join in SA8.2 ‘A knowledge marketplace’, but I somehow was too late. SA stands by the way for Supplementary activity, and CA stands for Core Activity.

Well, probably I am doing this activity for nothing, because if my second TMA is not a pass 1, which is doubtful, then I cannot achieve an overall distinction for the course anyways. But, hope dies last.

Ok, anyways, this seems a relative effortless activity so let’s go for it 😉 As from now I have to take a strategic learning approach, which according to Richardson (2005) involves a focus on achieving the best results, regardless of whether this involves attention to the meaning of the course materials. I know that stands in stark contrast to the PDP and reflection, but the 20 January moves closer and our time is running out, like I said in my last mail. So let’s go for it and make the best out of it.

The following extract is from H808 course material.

The nature of the audience you are communicating to has a strong influence on how and what you communicate. Factors such as their age, experience, expectations and motivation will all impact on what you say. Other factors such as the context, environment, allocated time and resources will also play important roles.

Consider the influence the audience has had when you have been communicating (this could be teaching, training, writing a report, engaging in a discussion group, posting in a forum, etc). Post a message to the course wiki that gives an example of one of the following:

  • You have misjudged the type of audience and used the wrong type of communication.
  • You have altered the same basic content for different audiences.
  • You felt that you judged the audience well and had made appropriate adjustments in your communication.

Here is a typical example that I guess every teacher already experienced. I was asked if I would teach biology, and now in retrospect I have to say silly me agreed on it and ended up in a ‘lovely’ economic & management class. There interest in biology is pretty low, almost as low or even lower as the interest of the a great deal of the class to be in school. Just for explanation, students in Germany needs to attend school for a certain amount of years, and these students belong to it, being forced by law to attend school, but with no real aspiration. Ok, to strike a blow for some in the class, some have aspirations, but they are easily distracted from all the others.

The first time I went in, they did not want to stop talking, did not went to their place, etc and as they did not pay attention to my requests, my tone go a little bit more stricter, but without great success. Well, what should I say, the lesson was definitely not a success and it is normally not my style to be overall strict and I believe in good relationships with students, which normally works pretty good, because they understand I am not the one they need to fight, but I am here to help them. However, whatever I did so far in this particular class, it does not work out. I am pretty frustrated, and really doubt my communication skills. Well, not sure if this applies for a good example of having misjudged the type of audience and used the wrong type of communication.

Well, here another example how I judged the audience well and had made appropriate adjustments in your communication, just to avoid the impression, that I am unable to communicate appropriate 😉

I work for the adult education center and I vividly recall my first time I taught a PowerPoint course. This was the first time where I had adult people in front of me not students aged around 16-18 years. Though I was really nervous, did I think I managed pretty good. Normally I can switch pretty easy, between different audience, being more formal or informal, or consider the age of my audience, like in another computer course, that I teach for the adult education center, where I have young students aged around 10-12 years old. You definitely have to vary your communication style, so to say make appropriate adjustment in my communication, to address the different age groups in an appropriate way. Like I mentioned before it also depends if communication takes place in a formal or less formal setting, and the subject you might teach play a role, too.


References:

Richardson, J.T.E. (2005) ‘Students’ approaches to learning and teachers’ approaches to teaching in higher education’, Educational Psychology, vol.25, pp.673–80; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?url=http: //search.ebscohost.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login.as px?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=18786906&site=ehost-live&scope=site (accessed 29 August 2010).

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2 Comments
  1. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have made compiling this article. This has been enlightening for me. I have passed this on to one of my friends.

    • Thanks Andreas, I always try my best, but such a nice compliment keeps me going 🙂

      I assume that you are doing H808 as well? Would you mind that I use your comment in my final assessment as a reference, so to say as evidence for my communication-related competence? Please let me know. Thanks.

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