Teaching History And Culture Writing Sample

Culture is an important aspect of people’s lives. The United States’ population is composed of an amalgam of cultures (Ravitch, 1992). As such, students should be taught not only about American culture, but also about the diversity of cultures present in the country. If we do this, our students will grow up to be well-rounded and righteous and will not resort to prejudices against minority cultures. This memo will primarily stress the need for both multiculturalism and common culture in the American curriculum for the benefit of the students. Specifically, this will take teachers’ role and assistance in building up and developing a sensitive and well-aware student body.

Education and culture are two concepts that go hand in hand. The purpose of education, according to a Public Broadcasting Service (2001), is to teach cultural literacy. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (2007), on the other hand, defines culture as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group,” as well as “the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties, especially by education.” If students need to be taught about culture, then the curriculum should include a responsible and sensitive discussion of American history and culture as well as other cultures.

Your task as educators does not end in topics such as “arithmetic, reading, spelling, keyboard competences, simple geographic knowledge, languages, layout skills,” and presentation skills (Ormell, n.d.), but in more significant subjects that students will need as they face the wider, more challenging, and more diversified world. Since it is our public school’s role to open students’ “minds to new worlds, new ideas, and new possibilities,” and to help build a national identity that we all share, it is your priority as teachers to focus on the study of the history of the United States (Ravitch, 1992), without evading some important facts, figures, personalities, or events that make up the whole of our history as a people and as a nation. This is a must because the United States “fosters historical amnesia.”

The U.S. Department of Education reported that more than half of all high school seniors do not even have a basic understanding of American history (Teaching American History, 2007). In your teaching of history, it is important to acknowledge truthfully and in all honesty the human rights violations that ruin the history of other nations, as well as our own (Ravitch, 1992), because our highest goal for our students is “the search for truth” (Hilliard, 1992). Even though most people do not agree with inculcating “the doctrines of U.S. guilt and multiculturalism” instead of just the “greatness of our heroes and successes” in our history classes (Schlafly, 2006), this is part of the truth you need to teach them.

History is important since it oppress people of their past, thus “it will enable them to judge of the future.” Students must learn through past events and experiences from history for them to respect the rights of individuals, regard the law, volunteer and participate in public life, and be concerned for the common good (Teaching American History, 2007). Moreover, history provides “a storehouse of information about how people and societies behave.” Information from the past can provide the “most vital evidence” as we figure out why people and societies behave as they do (Stearns, 1998).

Furthermore, it is your priority as educators to focus on the study of the culture of the United States. You are well aware that we live in an amalgamated American society and our culture is not solely composed of White contributions, but the combined works of blacks and whites, “of men and women, of Native Americans and African Americans, of Hispanics and Asians,” of English, French, German, Mexican, Russian, Cuban, Chinese, Nigerian and Ghana’s immigrants, “of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and of millions of other individuals” who have given their share into our rich and diversified culture (Ravitch, 1992). All these people came into our land to take part “in our democratic heritage and to become possessors of the grand ideas that created and sustained the democratic experiment” in our country. They have a rightful place in the making of our nation. To strengthen their work and contributions, the educational system has a lot of responsibility to make these people true and sensitive Americans (Ravitch, 2002).

According to political activist Phyllis Schlafly (2006), public schools are the ones that define the American culture and the kind of environment our students will live in, “and they are doing it in violation of what the American people want.” While it is the general task of public schools to guide the elements that determine our culture, namely, the morals, attitudes, knowledge, and decision-making, of 89 percent of American students (Schlafly, 2006), it is your primary responsibility to “analyze culture, its concepts and keywords, and then to introduce and explain” these to students. Afterwards, you step back and let students “discover and interpret the meanings” of culture for themselves (Nakata, 2001).

Moreover, it is your task to erase ethnocentricity and prejudice and correct misconceptions in the meanings students find. However, you yourselves should be free of prejudice, ethnocentricity, and misconceptions so that you will be effective in your tasks. Your teaching of history, literature, and art, should be done in such a way that it diminishes and actively combats prejudice, and promotes appreciation for all skin colors, religions, languages, and other differences (Ravitch, 1992).

Most societies have valued education. “A good schooling regime could produce a small pool of young adults with the full mix of admirable values, disciplines, habits and awareness needed” to secure a good future for a nation (Ormell, n.d.). If this is how we value education and our students’ future, it is in your hands as educators to hone them into socially-responsible and culturally-sensitive individuals, ready to take on larger and more diverse roles in the society.


  1. Hilliard, A. (1992). Why we must pluralize the curriculum. Educational Leadership.
  2. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. (2007). “Culture.” Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary. Retrieved October 15, 2007 from http://merriam-webster.com/dictionary/culture
  3. Nakata, H. (2001). The role of teachers as ‘InterCulture Practitioners’ in teaching Japanese culture. Oxford Brookes University Research Centre. Retrieved October 16, 2007 from http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/kenkyu2002/Nakata.pdf
  4. Ormell, C. (n.d.) Challenging the Imagination is the Essence of Education. Retrieved October 13, 2007 from http://www.ierg.net/confs/2003/proceeds/Ormell.pdf
  5. Public Broadcasting Service. (2001). What is the purpose of public education? School: The Story of American Public School. Retrieved October 13, 2007 from http://www.pbs.org/kcet/publicschool/get_involved/guide_p2.html
  6. Ravitch, D. (1992). A culture in common. Educational Leadership.
  7. Ravitch, D. (2002). Diversity, tragedy, and the schools: A considered opinion. Brookings. Retrieved October 16, 2007 from http://www.brookings.edu/articles/2002/winter_immigration_ravitch.aspx
  8. Schlafly P. (2006). Public schools define American culture. Eagle Forum. Retrieved October 16, 2007 from http://www.eagleforum.org/column/2006/nov06/06-11-15.html
  9. Stearns, P. (1998). Why study history? American Historical Association. Retrieved October 16, 2007 from http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/WhyStudyHistory.htm

Foster Care: A Social Issue That Relates To Adolescent Development


Family is composed of a mother, a father, and their children. It is the most basic unit of a community. Through family, a community may attain success and progress, and so as the country. It is a social institution wherein every individual belongs.

Every child needs to have a family to be with. It is every children’s right. They need a family who will accept them, guide them as they grow up, shelter and provide them their needs, and most especially, love them. But how can these all happen if their family is like a glass bottle–a broken glass bottle forced to be fixed again by putting the broken pieces together using glue. Would you think it is sufficient enough to bring the broken pieces back together? Would this kind of family can still give the right guidance, basic necessities, and love a child need?

Those questions started to build up in my mind as I wrote this paper about foster care. As an introduction, foster care helps children of those cases. Facts and details in this paper are more focused on foster care in urban areas. Many researches showed that there are more cases of foster care in primary urban areas, followed by secondary urban areas and non-urban areas (http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/fcsum91.htm). To have a deeper insight about foster care, I have discussed the major topics who would encounter with foster care.

What is foster care?

Foster care is a one of today’s social issues. It is a system wherein stand-in parents, the foster parents, take the provision for minor children or young people, the foster children, who have been taken away from their biological parents, due to some family problems, by state authority. Foster parents commit themselves in providing the children’s need including home for their foster children to ensure their safety (http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/Child/AdoptionFosterCare /003670365.htm). Although some says that foster care is a full-time substitute care of children away from their legal guardians (http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/foster-care), foster parents provide only the basic and critical needs that biological parents can’t provide rather than replacing the child’s family (http://www.fostercare.net/). A qualified environment for those children should be given by the foster parents (http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/humanservices/fostercare.html).

Why do some children need foster care?

            You would find plenty of reasons children would go to a foster care (http://www.answers.com/topic/foster-care). Researchers had examined different reasons why a child would enter into a foster care. The most common was neglect from parents or guardians, followed by physical abused and no available caretaker (http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/foster-care/144/1.html). Also, protective reasons, physical and sexual abuse, failed placements, status offenders, and disabilities or handicaps are also included (http://www.uic.edu/classes/socw/socw550/CHILDWEL/tsld028.htm).

            Researchers also studied the age of the child entering into a foster care. 0-6 years, 7-12 years, and 13-18 years were the categories of the age bracket (http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/foster-care/144/1.html). Reasons of majority of children belong to the first age bracket were neglected or abandoned. Those on the second age bracket varied with no dominating reasons. And in the last category, majority was because of failed placements (http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/foster-care/144/1.html).

Also, researchers studied the characteristics of biological parents of the foster children and found out that majority of them are associated with substance abuse, followed by incarceration, and then psychiatric problems (http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/foster-care/144/1.html).

More than one health problem were common to several foster children. Some of the children in the 0-6 age bracket have upper respiratory illnesses, skin problems, developmental delays, anemia, and poor vision. Some of the adults were positive for tuberculosis. Their researches also show that abandoned or neglected children have worse health than that of those who are physically or sexually abused (http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/foster-care/144/1.html).

Length of stay in foster care also varies. Some took longer time due to reasons like the child is abandoned, physically impaired, or adoption is being planned. On the other hand, some took shorter time because the parental contact with the child continued, or reunification was the goal of the social service department (http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/foster-care/144/1.html).

Can everyone be a Foster Parent?

            Not everyone can be a foster parent. There are several requirements for you to become one. Foster parents receive stipends. That is why requirements vary by jurisdiction. Foster care intends to provide support and care for a young person. Its goal is the reunification of the children with their family or another permanent living arrangement can be facilitated like adoptive home, guardianship, or placement with a relative.

Foster homes are certified or approved if they meet the following criteria or standards:


            Applicants to be foster parents should have the age of more than 20 years (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp). This is to be sure that you are mature enough to handle such situation.


            Foster parents should be physically and mentally fit and do not have any communicable disease (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp). They should provide a statement from a physician to prove that they are in good condition (http://www.hsd.racineco.com/Youth/FosterCare/FosterParentRequirements). However, physical handicaps and illnesses are negligible as long as they do not hinder the ability to be a foster parent (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp).

Employment and other Properties

            Enough income to provide their own family’s needs are also a requirement (http://www.hsd.racineco.com/Youth/FosterCare/FosterParentRequirements). Although must be employed, they should also have time for the children. Unless they are not working outside home, they should provide suitable plans for the supervision and care of the children (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp). An example is their plans during weekends, summer and summer vacations. In properties, they must have enough bedroom space and an extra bed for a foster child or in case the foster child shares bedroom with your own child, their bedroom must be at least fifty square feet per child in the room. Living in a house or apartment that meets a safety inspection and showing any proof of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance coverage should be followed. Owning a vehicle and showing valid driver’s license and automobile insurance coverage to prove it should also be done (http://www.hsd.racineco.com/Youth/FosterCare/FosterParentRequirements).

Marital Status

            Although foster parent could be married or single, marital status still affects one’s parenthood. Marital status matters only if it affects one’s ability to provide adequate supervision and care to foster children (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp).


            They must have good moral character. They can judge maturely. They must have ability to in managing resources particularly financially. Capacity for developing a meaningful relationship with children should also be possessed. To prove that those characters are true, three individuals, who know them, should attest or be interviewed (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp).

Ability and Motivation

You need to be committed and motivated to become a foster parent is crucial. They must possess a good understanding of the children’s needs. They must also have the willingness to work with the others in order to achieve foster children’s permanence (http://www.hsd.racineco.com/Youth/FosterCare/FosterParentRequirements). Psychological readiness must be observed. Foster care responsibilities have different impacts in foster parents life and its relationships. They should be aware of these. Principles related to the development and discipline of children should be known. Each child needs guidance. Every child should be supported by their parents. All of these must be possessed by a tentative foster parent (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp).

History and Records

            They should not have any history of criminal or civil convictions related to children care and should not have any record or history of abuse or neglect (http://www.hsd.racineco.com/Youth/FosterCare/FosterParentRequirements).

Foster Care Orientation

            Foster care orientation should be attended by the applicants to be a foster parent. This orientation takes place when they already completed the application (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp).


            After all of these, they must undergo several trainings for becoming foster parents. Trainings aim to orient them in many aspects. Enough sensitivity in dealing with the problems and reactions of children upon separation is required. Trainings give them a briefing about payments for foster parents for care. Expenses and the rights and responsibilities of a foster parent are also discussed and taught in the training (http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp).

The stand-in parents take the responsibility for the young person. Sometimes, it is the biological parents who actually put the child into foster care until they have can already provide appropriate care. But in some cases, the biological parental rights are terminated and the child is adopted. Guardianship is another option. This sometimes happen in cases wherein when adoption is not right for the child, although his/her reunification with his/her birth family is impossible. Generally, this occurs when older foster children is strongly bonded to their birth family. In such case wherein parents are unwilling to care for the child, voluntary foster care can be used. For example, the parent has psychological problems and is unable to take care of her child. Involuntary foster care is used in circumstances wherein a child was taken away from his/her parents for his/her safety. Placement agencies give the foster parents an amount of money to help them cover the child’s needs.

What are the problems and issues encountered in Foster Care?

            Foster parents and foster children both encounter different problems and issues, from the start up to the end, regarding foster care. Although many foster care cases are successful, there are also that are not.

Due to their removals in their home and placing them in foster care, some foster children tend to feel guilt and blame their selves for their removal from their birth parents. Some wished to return to their home even if they were abused there. Upon being attached to their foster parents, different emotions were observed. Some felt unwanted if adoption waited for a long time while others felt helpless about multiple changes in their foster parents over time. They felt insecurity and uncertainty about their future. They often acknowledge feelings for their foster parents. These psychologies are found common to some foster children from unsuccessful foster care (http://www.aacap.org/page.ww?section=Facts+for+Families&name=Foster+Care). They sometimes do felt that they are belong and accepted. The love they were expecting from their foster parents were not provided (http://www.fostercare.net/)

On the other hand, foster parents, as they face certain challenges in foster care, also experience some difficulties. Some of them find it hard to recognize their limits of emotional attachment to the foster child. In the event of the return of the foster child to his/ her birth parents, they experienced difficulty in letting go. They had a hard time understanding mixed emotions towards the foster child’s birth parents (http://www.aacap.org/page.ww?section=Facts+for+Families&name=Foster+Care).

Foster parents also need to handle some problems they experienced like discipline for the child. Sometimes, they had no idea how and what approach they will do in supervising their foster child. They should consider the background of the foster child. Failure to give the right supervision and care may lead to lying and rebellion of the foster child (http://www.fostercare.net/).

Are there findings in relation to Foster Care?

            There were different findings in relation to foster care. Many researchers, public health officer have done their part in those findings. They showed and gave records of those evidences. In those findings, developmental outcomes of foster children in different aspects were studied.

Developmental Outcomes of children in Foster Care

            Variables are to be considered in showing developmental outcomes of foster children. Poor developmental outcomes were common to them. This is due to factors like gene, parental substance exposure, and other physical health issues (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

            In addition to that, many scholars argued that negative outcomes were due to traumatic experience, like maltreatment, children had rather than the foster care itself, which in fact a protective factor for traumatic experience.  Foster care gave more positive results for children than those of children who have been reunited with their families. But despite of all of these, poorer developmental outcomes for children and foster care placement and foster care are associated (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

Foster Care Experience and Developmental Outcomes

            There are several harmful effects on child’s health. Academic and cognitive functioning was also affected. Their socialization with others were poor. Higher level of morbidity throughout the childhood was present in the foster children. This is due to their prenatal experiences like prenatal substance exposure (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

Although growth abnormalities and untreated health problems were common in most foster children, these were not distinct from those found in children living in poor biological families. However, health care providers should be more sensitive on medical issues of foster children (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

Findings also showed that foster children have developmental and cognitive delays. Foster children also scored poor grades and have higher grade retention and special education placement. These may not be due to the foster care but to the pre-foster care experiences like maltreatment and abuses (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

More compromised social-emotional functioning than those of high-risk children were present. Most of them have mental health deficiency. They were observed to be more depressed.  Their adaptive functioning was lower. They also tend to have many behavioral problems especially externally. Their poor mental outcomes are due to varied factors beyond their foster care experience (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

Placement Characteristics and Developmental Outcomes

            Developmental outcomes were influenced by the type and stability of placement. In most study, foster child developmental outcomes were better when they are placed in kinship foster care than those placed in unrelated foster homes. (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

            Because of placement instability, many foster children have poor outcomes. The higher changes in placement or disruption rates are, the longer the child would stay in the foster care and functioning of the foster child is affected. Although most foster children experience one to two placements only, most foster care placements were disrupted within the first two years (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

            The type of placement and the placement stability always come together. Children in kinship care experience more stability. However, there were high disruption rates in situations with vulnerable children and/or families. On the other hand, higher number of moves was experienced by very young children because of attempts to find less-restrictive placements (http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm).

Are there questions left unanswered?

            We have discussed a lot of things about foster care. Almost everything about it was explained clearly. But although we now know a lot of things about it, there are still questions that were left unanswered.

            A broken glass bottle cannot be fixed again. Even how strong the bond is, you cannot bring it to its original form. Broken pieces are needed to be melted again in order to form another bottle.

            If you come to think of it, do these foster children deserve what they got? And even if they were put into foster care, do those years of separation with their biological family be compensated by the results of their stay in foster care? In case they were neither adopted by their foster parents nor their biological family still cannot be reunited, what would happen to them after their stay in the foster care? In case they cannot still live by their own, what would be their future holds? Many of adults today live their lives the way their parents did. Like in the saying “if what is the tree, that is also the fruit”, do they also have the tendency to have such problems like their biological parents do? What is the probability that they would have a better, much better, family than what they had experienced? And for the side of the foster parents, is it fair for them, after they provide what real parents to their child do, to be separate the foster children from them after the foster care? Controlling ones emotion is hard, especially if its love.

Foster care is just a temporary solution. It does not completely resolve such problems like those. It is hard to say that researchers, even the foster parents and foster children themselves, cannot answer those questions.


Encyclopedia of Adoption. Retrieved June 8, 2007 from http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/foster-care/144/1.html

Foster Care. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from http://www.aacap.org/page.ww?section=Facts+for+Families&name=Foster+Care

Foster Care. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from http://www.answers.com/topic/foster-care

Foster Care. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from


Foster Care. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from http://www.fostercare.net/

Foster Care. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm

Foster Care. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/foster-care

Foster Care Dynamics in Urban and Non-Urban Areas. Retrieved June 8, 2007 from http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/fostercare-issues02/dynamics/index.htm

Foster Care Program. Retrieved June 8, 2007 from http://www.co.el-dorado.ca.us/humanservices/fostercare.html

Foster Parent Requirements. Retrieved June 8, 2007 from http://www.hsd.racineco.com/Youth/FosterCare/FosterParentRequirements

Requirements to Become a Foster Parent. Retrieved June 9, 2007 from http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/fostercare/requirements.asp

Key Areas Of Self-Awareness

Core self-evaluation – It is how one perceives his image, positively or negatively. It is how one person feels and thinks about himself that affects the way he acts as well as discovering its talents. It identifies the underlying personality attributes.

Example: A person who has a low self-esteem but intelligent. When she participates in a contest with talented and intelligent participants she never expects to win, but fortunately she wins. Her morale is boosted and she thinks that she has the ability and can compete and be better than them.

Emotional intelligence – It concerns with knowing one’s emotion for people — a better pilot of their lives and they can manage their emotions to be able to cope up with life adversities faster. They would know how to motivate themselves and have self-control and not to act impulsively. In return, empathic sensitivity by recognizing emotions of other people and a better emotion-handling would help solve conflicts.

Example: Two drivers in a road accident. One driver is impulsive and the other knows how to control himself and has the ability to calm distressing emotions. With this, they would have a harmonious talk and emotions would be managed with each other compare to both who have impulsive way of acting.

Attitudes toward change – attitude represents an individual’s like or dislike for an item through judgment. It develops on affect, behavioral change and cognition model. It expresses an individual’s preference for an entity and indication of the intention in verbal manner and cognitively process to form attitude.

Example: Change of work/job. If you have an easy job and shifted to harder one, view or consider it as a challenge. This would help you do better.

Learning style – This is done by visual, auditory and kinesthetic way of acquiring information or evaluation. To learn we depend on our senses to process information around us usually by the use of our senses more than others.

Example: In a seminar: We learn and take information by paying attention to the lecturer through the use of our senses — watch, listen and analyze.

Values – These are ideals that guides or directs or qualify your personal conduct, interaction with others and involvement in your environment. It helps distinguish what is right from what is wrong and informs how you can make your life more meaningful by choosing the right decision.

Example: Early and unwanted pregnancies. Your values would determine or dictate what you would do. If you are a God-fearing and have a high respect for yourself you would not go into intimate relationship that easy, but if your values and concept of intimate relationship is different then you would be adventurous and try it.

Analytical Problem-Solving Model:

  • Identify the Problem – identify what it needs to be solved and try to keep it manageable.
  • Identify Alternative Solution – help to formulate solution by considering the benefits and costs of each solution. Collective solutions are better than an independent solution.
  • Evaluate/select alternative solution – Eliminate all the impractical solutions and choose the best alternative at a certain condition.
  • Implement/follow-up on the solution – Formulation of plan of action and implementation of the solution. After implementation, reflect on the plan and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution being implemented, if necessary, make the appropriate adjustments.

Difficulties that occur with each step of Rational Problem Solving:

  • Definition of the problem – “what it needs to be solved”. It is normally overlooked by the top level management to define the exact problem. If the problem is not properly identified it may cause a problem for each and every member of the group may have different definition on it. This should have the same definition to possibly find alternate sources in solving the problem.
  • Generate all possible solutions – gathering of ideas in groups as different people have different ideas or alternatives for the problem. If not able to explore more solutions, there is a chance not to arrive to an optimal and rational decision.
  • Choose the best solution and implement– choosing the best solution. A good assessment and analysis should be applied to be able to choose the best solution both in terms of quality and quantity and implement.
  • Evaluate and modify the decision – be able to rank the alternatives and choose the best on it for the improvement of the action taken to suit the situation.

Incubation – is to grow or maintain a thing under specific conditions to promote growth and development. Sustaining those conditions slowly and protectively for development.

Imagination – Ability to form or invent partial or complete images in the realms of elements derived   from sense perception of the shared world. It helps provide meaning to experiences and understanding to knowledge and lead to something new.

Improvement – is to enhance or improve in value or quality or be better. It means to make more acceptable or bring it to a nearer standard.

Investment – is an act of putting things into others’ pockets. It is a done to have a future return. It is done by lots of people who are aiming to be first to have invested such things.

Coaching and Counseling – coaching and counseling helps achieve the results we desire. The former is done by giving a constructive feedback to another’s plan and ideas. It allows you to express yourself in a neutral environment and helps you hear how your plans sound when you say them aloud, the latter is giving advice in theory-based process to be able to have alternative.

Eight Principles of Supportive Communication:

  • Congruent, not congruent – Respond in an interested manner which shows the understanding on the matter. Attributing own thoughts that is related in the topic, not ideas that could distort with the topic, will give an alternative for understanding the topic.
  • Descriptive, not evaluative – Summarizes and repeating back what you heard and deal with the emotion. Formation of judgment and evaluation on the person and problem as he/she speaks would hinder the meaning of the problem, let it finish and convey all the emotions before giving feedbacks.
  • Problem-oriented, not person-oriented – the focus should be on the problem not with the person himself/herself. Know the problem and the emotion underlying it for you are able to empathize and can give a sound and unbias response. Emotion towards him would affect the advice that you would give.
  • Validating, not invalidating – validating the problem and exact feelings he says will help you reframe your understanding from what you hear. This will help you show the real concern towards him.
  • Specific, not global – deal with the specific problem, give example or referencing it to exact experiences so that it will not be out of topic. It is easier to have an alternative drawn when the problem and example is related.
  • Conjunctive, not conjunctive – focus on the problem and try to delve into a related story of your own that would still keep the focus on the problem and also to his feeling. Do not give an out of bound or out of the topic comment.
  • Owned, not disowned – give owned ideas that would help them brainstorm for a solution. Look the pros and cons before you choose for an alternative.
  • Supportive listening, not one-way listening – seek first to understand before to be understood. Listen to what the problem is being discussed to know the important details as well as the emotions and give advice maybe from your own experiences or other’s that is factual.

Listen – asking what is wrong and really listens to the answer. Here, you may hear all their fears, frustrations and other important feelings. Disadvantage is sometimes you get bored listening and urges to give advice even if the one you are talking to is not finished yet.

Reframe what you hear – Summarize and repeat your understanding of what you hear and deal on the emotions they might be feeling. But sometimes, your understanding would make their misery deeper, like wrong choice of word in reframing what you hear.

Ask about feelings – expanding what they are feeling will provide a good emotional release and might be helpful than just focusing on the facts. Maybe it would lead to deeper sorrow if feelings are opened-up.

Keep the focus on them – rather than delving into a related story of your own, it is better to keep the focus on them. You can cite something that happened to you but bring the focus back to them.

Help Brainstorm – Help them come up with ideas by looking at the pros and cons of each alternative after exploring the feelings and details.

Defensiveness – if an individual feels threatened or attacked as a result of the communication, self protection become paramount. It is the unconscious attempt to protect the self from anxiety, either through diversionary or intimidation strategy or distortions of reality. Energy is spent on constructing a defense rather than on listening to be able to cope and that lead to one-sided conversations or emotionally draining situations. Thus, aggression, anger, competitiveness, and avoidance are common reactions.

Disconfirmation – if an individual feels incompetent, unworthy, or insignificant as result of the communication, he/she attempts to re-establish self-worth take precedence. If people are faced with facts against their beliefs, they will be more likely to believe the evidence that wires their beliefs and scrutinizes yet criticize and reject that would disconfirms their own belief. Energy is spent trying to portray self-importance rather than on listening. It is manifested by self-centered behavior, withdrawal, and loss of motivation

Work Cited

  1. Ferrari, Michel and Sternberg, Robert J. 1998. Self-Awareness: Its Nature and Development. The Guilford Press.

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