One way to get a better sense of whats happening during difficult conversations and conflicts is to practice your observation and listening skills. The purpose of this assignment is to gather a group of 3-4 people to observe having a conflict. You will present 1-3 controversial or provocative statement(s) for the group to discuss. This can be a group of friends, family members, or volunteers who may be interested in participating, but you should aim to gather people who you know may have varying stances/positions on the statement(s) being discussed so that you have some potential conflict to watch. The format of this group discussion can occur synchronously in-person (while practicing socially distancing guidelines) or over a Zoom meeting or Google Meet/Hangouts. It can also occur asynchronously over social media forums (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) or any other online group chat formats (e.g., GroupMe, WhatsApp). The format is your choice.There are three steps for preparing and doing this assignment: before, during, and after.
1. Before conducting the group discussion, develop an action plan for the prompts you want to give to your group. Consider the following: (a) how might your group respond to your prompts? (b) what will you say/do if the conflict escalates? (c) what will you say/do if the conversation needs probing (begins to fizzle out)? (d) what are your alternative plans if something does not go as originally planned? (e) how will you end the group discussion? Use the worksheet below.Also, before having the group discuss the prompt(s), establish rules such as saying the following:I will give _#_ statement(s) for you to consider. The rules are: 1. No hostility; 2. Focus on how the statement makes you feel; 3. Be truthful without attacking othersdisagree without belittling. If any rules are broken, we will stop the discussion. I will do my best to help clarify statements, but I am primarily observing what happens.2. During the group discussion, take notes on a few of the following aspects: whats being said (what arguments are made), what conflict management styles are used, how often people are speaking (whos dominating v. whos staying silent), any notable displays of emotions you witness, and overall tone or mood what is said in the conversation to name a few. Do your best to remain as removed from the discussion as possible. Conversations should last long enough for you to generate 1-2 pages of observation notes (so plan accordingly). Use the notepad below.3. After conducting the group discussion, you will write a brief listening reflection at least 250 words in length describing your experience and what you learned. See below for specific prompts to guide writing your reflection.Grading policy and due dates: You will be evaluated on your in three ways.1. For 25 points: You will be graded on how well you develop your action plan. 2. For 25 points: You will be graded on how well you take observation notes.3. For 25 points: You will be graded on your reflection describing your experience and what you learned. In your reflection, incorporate course terminology when appropriate. Here are some questions to guide your write up.What was the context of the discussion (who, where, when)? What prompts did you plan versus prompts that you used?What was it like to conduct this assignment? What observations stood out to you? What did you learn about conflict in groups?
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