ERIC Number: EJ1023229
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Adopting Frank Warren's PostSecret Art Project to Illustrate the Role of Secrets in Interpersonal Communication
Paxman, Christina G.
Communication Teacher, v27 n4 p212-217 2013
The exploration of secrets summons the adage that ''what someone doesn't know won't hurt them.'' While this phrase implies that keeping secrets can be advantageous, it also foreshadows another consideration: secrets have the propensity to hurt others (Caughlin, Scott, Miller, & Hefner, 2009). Despite this, the act of sharing a secret is often associated with positive health outcomes (Smyth & Pennebaker, 2001). It is obvious, then, that the study of secrets within personal relationships is rich and complex. Communication scholars have witnessed the growth of an impressive body of literature dedicated to both secrets and information management, which are often conceptualized as distinct, but not necessarily mutually exclusive, topics. By pedagogically linking this area of study with popular culture, this activity offers an adopted version of Warren's (2005) PostSecret art project as a method for instructors to elucidate productively the role of secrets within personal relationships. This activity was devised to underscore the significance of information management within personal relationships. The objective of the exercise described in this article allows students to disclose and examine a multitude of secrets that explicate both the dark side and the positive side of communication. Courses are: (1) Interpersonal Communication; (2) Family Communication; and (3) Communication Theory. Sample discussion questions are provided.
Descriptors: Interpersonal Communication, Self Disclosure (Individuals), Art Products, Class Activities, College Instruction, College Students, Discussion (Teaching Technique)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A