Happy Relationship

Here's an interesting list of advice for a happier relationship after children, much of it useful communication advice. My concern is the post's limitation to "marriage." Are these "12 secrets" not applicable to domestic partnerships or other relationship types? It's a good example of how marginalized "non-marriage" relationships are.


Research Efficiency and Reliability: An Exercise for Public Speaking

An old television game show from the 1950s, Name that Tune, pitted 2 contestants against each other. The objective was for one contestant to name the tune the orchestra would play in fewer notes than could the other contestant. In this exercise, the objective is similar; it’s to find reliable information most efficiently, in as few mouse clicks or in as short a time as possible. For example, you might count the number of mouse clicks (or touches of a touch screen) as one point each. [Typing words into a search engine would be free and wouldn’t cost any points.] The more clicks you use, the less efficient your search. Another measure of research efficiency and one that would be easier to use in the classroom would be the time it takes to find the answer. 

The learning objective here is for students to acquire efficient research strategies to find reliable information in an interesting and active way, in a way that will engage them rather than put them to sleep—as most discussions of research do. The exercise objectives are (1) to find a reliable answer to the question in as few clicks or in as short a time as possible and (2) to evaluate the source of the information.


First Dates

Here’s an interesting little piece (http://www.nanny.net/blog/10-ways-to-make-a-first-date-the-best-date-ever/), offering ten suggestions, for making the first date a memorable one. Among the suggestions are “be your best self,” “live in the moment,” “don’t apply too much pressure,” “keep your schedule flexible,” and—perhaps most important—“have a conversation, don’t perform a monologue.” Asking students to identify the characteristics of a great first date and then comparing them to this list would make a great introduction to the discussion of interpersonal relationships.


Intercultural Communication and Travel

An interesting interview with Brenda S. Sprague, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for passport services in Sunday’s New York Times (February 3, 2013), Travel, p. 3 provides lots of insights for intercultural communication and useful tips for the traveler. Most useful is the suggestion to visit the website www.travel.state.gov. It provides a wealth of information on specific countries along with travel warnings. Today’s warnings, for example, were for the Philippines, Afghanistan, and El Salvador. Another useful tip is to enroll in STEP (Smart Travel Enrollment Program). This will provide you with information on the places you plan to visit as well as travel warnings and weather alerts.

I learned two other things from this interview. First, your health insurance will usually not cover you in a foreign country, nor will Medicare. And even if you will get reimbursed from your insurance company, foreign hospitals generally want payment upfront. In special cases, the government will give you a loan for an evacuation which you’ll have to pay back. According to Sprague this medevac can easily cost $100,000.  Second, if unrest develops in the country you’re visiting, the State Department will help get you out but you will have to pay the cost.