Volume 7, Issue 1 - February 2012Print | Email

Coping with Hurtful Events

Vol7 - 1, Guerrero - Angry couple not talking Valentine’s Day often conjures up images of long-stemmed roses and heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate. Yet relationships are not all hearts and flowers. Even in the best of relationships, couples sometimes encounter problems that lead them to feel negative emotions, such as jealousy, anger, and frustration, and to communicate in destructive ways. Managing these types of situations effectively by using constructive forms of communication is one key to maintaining a healthy and happy relationship. 

Over the past two decades, my research has explored various ways that couples use communication to cope with negative events in their relationships. My early work in this area focused on how people communicate jealousy. More recently I have examined how couples cope with hurtful events such as infidelity and deception. This line of research offers some practical suggestions for how couples can be successful in dealing with problematic events in their relationships.

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Cross Current

Love Knows No Distance

Vol7 - 1, Long Distance Relationship GlobeAlthough Valentine’s Day is typically considered a day devoted to romance, I like to think of it as a time to celebrate all kinds of love:  a weekend getaway with your honey; a bottle of wine and conversation with your best friend; flowers from dad; lunch with mom; or a homemade card for that cute guy/gal who sits next to you in class.  But for many people, celebrating their relationships is not as simple as delivering flowers or making a dinner reservation.  These individuals are geographically separated from their loved ones, and therefore face certain challenges that we often don’t consider when we’re involved in geographically-close relationships.    

Numerous statistics demonstrate that a high proportion of Americans are involved in a variety of long-distance relationships (LDR), whether those relationships are romantic, platonic, or familial.  For example, some surveys estimate as many as 90 percent of Americans have at least one long-distance friendship.  Long-distance dating relationships are also fairly common, particularly among college students, constituting anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of dating relationships on residential campuses.  Commuter marriages have also become increasingly common in the past three decades with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting about 3.6 million Americans living apart from their spouses.  Due to work, school, and military deployment, many of us are also separated from our extended families.  So I’m willing to wager that you currently have at least one relationship that can be considered “long-distance.” 

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Instructor's Corner: The Art of Small Talk

Instructors CornerSmall talk is a powerful instrument for beginning a relationship.  Mastering the art of small talk can open many doors to your future.  Why is small talk so powerful?  According to Don Gabor, author of the book How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends, small talk is powerful for two reasons.  First, engaging in small talk with someone indicates a willingness on your part to talk to the person.  Second, small talk allows people to exchange information in order to discover common interests.  You need good conversational skills in every aspect of your life: business, social, and personal.
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A Double Heterotopia

Saidon - metal heads on the groundExplaining the educational objectives of the Jewish Museum Berlin for its fully-curated public opening, Director W. Michael Blumenthal identified two main purposes: to tell the history of Jewish life in Germany over the previous two millennia, and to demonstrate the importance of minority tolerance in any particular society. While the former focused on the particulars of the Jewish Museum Berlin’s displays – the main exhibition was organized in a straightforward linear chronology, the latter layer of meaning was a principle of community divorced from the uniqueness of Germany’s Jewish history. The two educational missions of the museum seem designed to appeal to two distinct audiences courted by the museum: Germans and international tourists.
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Decades Away or The Day After Tomorrow?

Vol7 - 1, post apocalypse New York CityFor scientists interested in communicating scientific information to non-scientific audiences, popular films invite a dilemma. On one hand, popular films can heighten public awareness of significant scientific or technical issues. On the other hand, many popular films often play “fast and loose” with scientific knowledge in order to create eye-popping special effects and an engaging plot. This dilemma highlights a fundamental question for science communication efforts: how can scientists marshal the increased public attention that accompanies a popular film to help communicate important scientific matters to non-scientists without undermining their scientific credibility? 
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Student Advocacy and the Limits of Free Speech

Vol7 - 1, Amsden_Bong_Hits_for_Jesus Four students at a San Francisco area high school are sent home for wearing US flag t-shirts to school on Cinco de Mayo. A Connecticut student is barred from running for student office after she writes a blog calling school administrators who had postponed a student concert “douchebags.” The principal of a Kansas City area high school demands that a student send a letter of apology to governor Sam Brownback, after she tweets that “#heblowsalot.” While the Supreme Court established in 1969 that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” the precise limits of those rights are anything but clear. The one constant is that when cases such as these are adjudicated, the courts tend to interpret the speech activities of youth through a series of metaphors that highlight their materiality, while interpreting the same activities conducted by adults as expressive.
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"If You Can Dream It, You Can Achieve It"

Vol7 - 1, Father speaking to sonGiven the unsteady state of the current job market, most Americans believe that obtaining a college education is necessary for success in the workforce, and research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports this contention. Yet the National Center for Education Statistics states that 30% of students drop out during their first year of college and 56% of students who start college do not complete their degree. This disparity is compelling lawmakers, researchers, and parents to examine the variety of factors linked to students’ successes and struggles in college. Despite a direct relationship between family demographic characteristics (e.g., race, income, parent education) and rates of college graduation, education and communication scholars realize that these family demographics are only a piece of the educational achievement puzzle. As family and instructional communication researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Emerson College, we saw a need to investigate how communication in the family contributed to children’s success in college.
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Working with Policy: Restructuring Healthy Eating Practices

Vol7 - 1, Healthy kid at school lunch lineIn late 2011, major news sources and online media across the United States ran headlines claiming, “Congress says pizza is a vegetable.” While the federal policy did not actually declare that pizza should be classified as a vegetable, Congress did make it easier to count the tomato sauce in pizza as part of a healthy school lunch. What made this policy particularly troubling for critics was that it slowed down the momentum that had been building since 2004, when the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act encouraged schools to serve healthier foods.
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Teacher Use of Pro-social and Anti-social Power Bases

Vol7 - 1, Teaching Addressing ClassroomTeachers enter the classroom with one overarching goal – to facilitate learning. In order to fulfill this goal, they are constantly making decisions regarding how much work to assign, how rigorous to grade, and key to my study - how to communicate with students. Although there are many types of teacher communication behaviors that affect learning outcomes, I examined the verbal and nonverbal behaviors that teachers use to influence students and the verbal and nonverbal behaviors that teachers use to communicate understanding or misunderstanding to students.
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Home Page | Coping with Hurtful Events | Love Knows No Distance | Instructor's Corner: The Art of Small Talk | A Double Heterotopia | Decades Away or The Day After Tomorrow? | Student Advocacy and the Limits of Free Speech | "If You Can Dream It, You Can Achieve It" | Working with Policy: Restructuring Healthy Eating Practices | Teacher Use of Pro-social and Anti-social Power Bases 
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