ERIC Number: ED404701
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Addressing Campus-Wide Communication Incivility in the Basic Course: A Case Study.
Heinemann, Robert L.
The degree of incivility varies, but there seems to be general agreement that it is on the rise on college campuses across the country. A number of key elements are involved in the communication aspects of civility: a lack of respect for another human being; name calling and dehumanization; disqualification from dialogue; threats and incitation; examples of incivility on television/radio; and politics. "Hate incidents" related to racist, sexist, and homophobic attitudes are occurring with increasing frequency. Campus incivility also involves intolerant radical religious groups, as well as just plain bad manners. At Messiah College, a Christian college in Pennsylvania, where most students come from middle-class religiously conservative homes, the college president suggested that a weekly student newspaper invite public engagement on issues. Although editorial policies warned that civil and responsible use of words was expected, many letters contained all of the earlier listed types of incivilities. To address incivility in the classroom, communication faculty added wording to goals for the required general education communication courses (Introduction to Public Communication; Introduction to Relational Communication). Specific pedagogical strategies address epistemological humility: civil language, inclusive attitudes, and consideration for the feelings of others. Teaching the language of disagreement, which should be mostly the language of respectful listening; discussion of controversial subjects; and critiquing negative media models by role playing are methods of addressing the problem of thoughtlessness. Communication teachers must also teach and model respect and understanding. (Contains 52 references.) (CR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A