M3: Discussion

1. Decoding: the process through which an individual determines meaning or produces a thought
based upon hearing and/or seeing verbal and nonverbal messages (p. 31).
As a tutor I frequently have to decode the nonverbal cues students are sending me when I am
teaching a new concept. For example, if a student has a blank expression on their face and their
eyes appear to be glazed over, I may infer that the student in question may have temporarily
tuned out and thus, I will need to refocus their attention and repeat what I have just gone over.
Alternatively if I see that a student’s eyebrows are furrowed, I might interpret their facial
expression as meaning that the student is confused and may need to ask a question.
2. Channel: is the medium(s) through which an individual sends a message; examples of different
types of channels include email, text message, voice mail, and face-to-face interactions (p. 31).
At work, I use multiple channels to communicate with colleagues, students, and parents
throughout the day. The type of channel that I choose to use depends on the type of
information that I plan on sending or transmitting. For instance, if I have major concerns about
a student and know that problem solving will be involved, I will send parents either an email or
leave them a voicemail asking to set up a time to meet face-to-face.
3. Interview: is a transactional process through which communicators both obtain and provide
information to one another (p. 86).
Interviewing comes up quite frequently for me at work, but I often see it taking place most often
when I meet with a new student for the first time. For every initial session I have with a student
we spend the first half if not all of the session interviewing one another as the student often
wants to know what we will be working on during our sessions, and as I want to know more
about their academic habits and what they think of their classes, and so on.
4. Body language: Body language refers to a type of nonverbal communication that can be
comprised of posture, gestures, body movement, and facial expressions, such as eye contact (p.
Body language can communicate many things, but I often look to students’ body language in
order to determine whether or not a student is interested in the content we are working on. If a
student positions their body towards an assignment that tells me that they are interested or
invested in the topic; alternatively if a student is sitting back in their chair and leaning away from
the assignment I might infer that they are not interested or do not like the assignment.
5. Paralanguage: also referred to as vocal cues, paralanguage is another type of nonverbal
communication; items that fall under the category of paralanguage include volume of an
individual’s speech, tone of voice, the pitch of one’s voice, and use of silence (p.59).
At work, I look at elements of paralanguage when interacting with colleagues to determine if
they have the time to partake in certain discussions. For example, if I walk into a colleague’s
classroom and they say hello but are talking very fast and are walking around the room rapidly
putting away materials, I can infer that now is not a good time to try and have an in depth
discussion about a struggling student.