Examples of Communication – Television and Non-verbal gestures and cues

This week’s blog focuses on how non-verbal cues and gestures play into conversations. We were asked to pick a television show and watch it twice. The first time without sound and the second time with sound. During our first observation we were asked to play close attention to the non-verbal gestures displayed and speculate on what the conversation was about.

I chose to watch Sex and the City. Although I had seen the movies, I had never watched the series. The series is based on a writer’s perspective on male/female relationships during the 1990’s. The episode “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” began with Cynthia in conversation with Carrie. The scene flashes back to Cynthia in the bed with a man who she just had sex with. While it appeared she enjoyed it, she was a little annoyed by the behavior of the male who got up, went to the bathroom and came back wet. It appeared that he had taken a shower. She made a comment, more with an inquisitive look and the gentleman responded calmly. The next scene shows Carrie walking down the street. She stops and observes people leaving church service and is surprised to see Mr. Big exiting the church with an older attractive woman. As Mr. Big is opening the cab door for the woman he spots Carrie across the street. He walks over and they have a brief conversation, each smiling at the other in a casual stance as they’re talking. Next scene has Cynthia and Carrie talking with Brooke and another flashback to Cynthia hugging her friend after sex. She’s talking calmly trying to hug him. He jumps up flailing his arms wildly animated. Cynthia’s look goes to puzzled and alarmed as she clutches the sheets closer to her neck and face. They flash back to the scene as Kim Cattrell’s (character) approaches them. She oozes sex appeal and begins to relay her previous engagement at a jazz club where she invites a gentlemen to sit at her table. The banter is definitely playful as the evening ends with the gentlemen kissing her hand as she goes inside. They flash to Brooke who is visiting a psychic. She turns over three cards and the psychic begins to explain them. Frowning she asks the psychic a question, in which the psychic just shrugs her shoulder. Brooke leaves the establishment clearly puzzled. Carrie and Cnythia visit the church to spy on Mr. Big. Things go awry and he notices her at the church. During their conversation after church in which Mr. Big introduces her to the older woman, and later at dinner, Carrie’s demeanor is significantly altered as she looks quiet and hurt by Mr. Big’s remarks and lack of emotion in his face. Things look sour for Kim Cattrell’s character as she’s later crying in the club with her girlfriends. Brooke visits another psychic and once again leaves frowning yet is later happy when she bumps into a handsome stranger on the street. At the end of the episode Carrier has her bags packed. She’s pacing in her apartment. She runs to the window sees Mr. Big downstairs. She collects her bags and meets him on the street. As he’s putting her bags into the car she speaks with her face facing the ground. Her demeanor seems broken and Mr. Big seems frustrated. He responds and then leaves her behind, bags on the sidewalk with her watching the car pull away. The episode ends.

Watching the second time with sound, the episode is about how well do we know individuals once their religious beliefs are introduced into the relationship. The older lady with Mr. Big’s at church is his mother. I discover along with Carrie, that he had yet to introduce them and his excuses were that he wasn’t ready and it would happen in due time. Carrie forced the issue. Carrie would not have met his mother except for the fact that she was researching religion after her initial conversation with Cynthia and her lover’s need to wash immediately after sex because he was Catholic. In Carrie forcing the issue with Mr. Big, she discovers that their feelings for each other aren’t on the same level. Heartbroken she ends the relationship. From Cynthia’s gestures I would have never come to the conclusion that the gentleman had a complex about extra marital sex based on his religion. I did gather that Brooks did not take her conversations with the psychics at face value. She refused to believe the information that she was given. Kim Cattrell’s character was a hoot as she thought she had found true love, only to discover the gentleman had some unforeseen flaws that were unacceptable. Mr. Big’s shrugs and lack of emotion leaves Carrie to come to some painful conclusions about someone she thought she knew quite well. Sex and the City will definitely be on my bucket list of shows to catch after I complete my graduate studies.

As we’re learning non-verbal cues and gestures can change the tone of a conversation from jovial to despair in a matter of seconds. As educators, there are times when we can get frustrated with not only our students but their families as well. It’s important that we find a neutral space and practice self-control with our thoughts, body language and words when applicable. We must never come across sounding to brash or condescending, or intentional harm or disrespect our students or their family members. This is a great exercise to conduct in the classroom, to teach children about body language and how it affects our ability to communicate effectively.

3 thoughts on “Examples of Communication – Television and Non-verbal gestures and cues

  1. Everything Education, this seemed to be an interesting sitcom as well. The comment you made about “… the episode is about how well do we know individuals once their religious beliefs are introduced into the relationship. The older lady with Mr. Big’s at church is his mother.” I probably would have started laughing at myself once I saw it again with the sound. I also love what you said about “As we’re learning non-verbal cues and gestures can change the tone of a conversation from jovial to despair in a matter of seconds. As educators, there are times when we can get frustrated with not only our students but their families as well. It’s important that we find a neutral space and practice self-control with our thoughts, body language and words when applicable. We must never come across sounding to brash or condescending, or intentional harm or disrespect our students or their family members.” I think you are correct, we as educators and parents (who are supposed to be partners) must find an even playing ground in order for there to be success for our children. As stated in the Anti-Bias Education, “It is important to remember that it is not human differences that undermine children’s development but rather unfair, hurtful treatment based upon those differences,” and that can come from either side of the spectrum (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010).

    References
    Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
    O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2012). Real communication: An introduction. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
    Walters, J., & Fenson, S. (2000). A crash course in communication. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/articles/2000/08/20000.html

  2. What interest me is when you said “as educators, there are times when we can get frustrated with not only our students but their families as well”. This interest me because I can get frustrated pretty easily at times, and yes our facial expression do play and important role in how effective we are in our communication with families and their children. It not that I would get frustrated with the children but with the family, and if my communication is not effective with the family then I might lose the trust of that family. Work in progress I am, i must say.

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