Since Educon last weekend, I have been reflecting deeply on how we use language and specifically how we choose our words to communicate meaning. It’s an idea that I reflect on daily and discuss often with my students in terms of their writing, but I am reflecting deeper on the words I choose to use as well as how I interpret the language of others.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you see the situation), I have more questions than answers…
- how much of what we say reveals our inner selves? (when I use the word “dominated” to describe how I often feel in a large group conversation what am I saying about myself? is that how I actually feel about myself?)
- how much of what we say we use to hide our inner selves? (the person who smiles and says they are “fine” when they clearly aren’t?)
- do we use language to reveal hidden meanings or is that dependent on how the listener interprets the use of language or can it be both?
On a positive note, (again dependent on your interpretation…) based on my conversations last weekend, I learned the following:
- communicating is not something we have done to us, we have to be active participants in the conversation
- listening is even more important that I had believed (and it was already pretty important in my books!)
- to question the use of language others use and ask them if how it comes across is really what they meant
- to be cognizant that some situations create anxiety for others and they might not as eloquently express themselves as when in a more relaxed setting
The questions and conclusions have applications for me both inside and outside the classroom and it has me thinking… Feedback is appreciated.