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close this bookAppropriate Community Technology - A Training Manual (Peace Corps; 1982; 685 pages)
View the documentThe Farallones Institute Rural Center
View the documentCHP International, INC.
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentIntroduction
close this folderPhase I: Introduction to training
View the documentPhase I Calendar
View the documentSession 1. Sharing perceptions of appropriate technology: an ice breaker
View the documentSession 2. Defining expectations of the appropriate community technology training program
View the documentSession 3. Group resource assessment
View the documentSession 4. Appropriate educational and learning processes part 1: non-formal education (nfe) and international community development work
View the documentSession 4. Appropriate educational and learning processes part 2: adult learning theory and how it is used in this training program
View the documentSession 5. Development of facilitation skills criteria
View the documentSession 6. Cross-cultural awareness and communication
View the documentSession 7. Hollow square
View the documentSession 8. Health in a cross-cultural context
View the documentSession 9. Community resource investigation
View the documentSession 10. An exercise in problem solving: formulating a plan for well-being
View the documentSession 11. Communication and listening skills
View the documentSession 12. Construction of earthen block molds: a focus on group dynamics
View the documentSession 13. Construction of earthen blocks
View the documentSession 14. Global energy issues
View the documentSession 15. Introduction to the evaluation process
View the documentSession 16. Evaluation and integration of training themes
Open this folder and view contentsPhase II: Earthen construction and fuel-saving cookstoves
Open this folder and view contentsPhase III: Pedal/treadle power
Open this folder and view contentsPhase IV: Solar water heaters
Open this folder and view contentsPhase V: Solar agricultural dryers
Open this folder and view contentsPhase VI: Concluding the program: The energy fair
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices

Session 11. Communication and listening skills

Total time:

2 hours


* To practice giving and receiving feedback
* To prepare for counterpart sessions
* To practice active listening skills
* To discuss impressions of the training program to date


* Attachment I-11-A, "Feedback and the Helping Relationships"
* Attachment I-11-B, "Johari Window"
* Ingalls, Andragogy, pp. 164-174


Newsprint and felt-tip pens


Step 1. (10 minutes)
Facilitate a discussion of the training program to date.“

Trainer Notes

Ask for impressions of the overall program, or one aspect of it, or ask about any difficulties people have experienced in the new environment of Peace Corps training.

Step 2. (15 minutes)
Distribute Attachment I-11-A and review it with the group, highlighting different aspects of giving and receiving feedback.

Trainer Notes

Refer to Andragogy, pp. 164-174, for background information on communicatlon and consultation skills. The following distillation of that material may also be used in your explanation:

* Effective communicatlon underlies all mutually supportive relationships -- in personal life, in the work environment, and in formal as well as informal counseling situations. However, it takes practice to develop the skills necessary for helpful, non-threatening interactions.

* Perhaps the most important aspect of counseling is to be a good listener: that is, one who listens actively, knows how to interview unobtrusively and can provide accurate feedback to the person being interviewed.

* Interpersonal communication involves complex dynamics on both the verbal and non-verbal levels. If there is distortion in either sending or receiving the intended message, then misunderstanding and a breakdown in communications will result.

* A method of reducing distortion is called "feedback." This happens when a person responds to the sender of a message in a way that expresses how it was received. It is important to realize that feedback must be natural, not forced or imposed, and it must be based on mutual trust in order to be non-threatening.

* Feedback reflects perceptions of behavior ant is only a measure of the way in which a situation is viewed. It should be clear, specific and related to the situation at hand. It should be descriptive and potentially helpful in a way that the receiver may decide either to use it or not.

* Feedback serves to clarify communication so that the helping relationship is enhanced through accurate perceptions of the concerns and problems being discussed.

Step 3. (15 minutes)
Distribute Attachment I 11-B, "Johari Window," and review it with the participants.

Trainer Notes

Explain that the Johari window model is instrumental in providing a framework for the continuing exercises in giving and receiving feedback. The model has been helpful in keeping the "feedback" theme in perspective and in encouraging the use of feedback es a constructive technique for building awareness, trust and communicatlon skills.

Step 4. (10 minutes)
Present a demonstration of the feedback activity to be carried out in Step 5.

Trainer Notes

This demonstration step is considered optional. However, it has been found that when participants have the opportunity to see and discuss a demonstration prior to beginning the activity in Step 5, they are more likely to understand the procedures and guidelines.

The procedures for carrying out the demonstration are as follows:

* Ask for two volunteers to help you demonstrate active listening skills.

* Place three chairs in the center of the room where they may be easily seen by all.

* Ask one volunteer to speak briefly (about 30 seconds) about an aspect of the training program that is most or least appealing.

* Ask the other volunteer to be an observer and to interrupt in 30 seconds.

* Try to paraphrase what the first volunteer has said.

* Ask the speaker if the paraphrase was accurate.

* Ask the observer about the accuracy of the paraphrase and for any observations about techniques and factors that either helped or hindered the communication: e.g., eye contact, body language, apparent sincerity.

* Ask if there are any observations from the rest of the group.

* At the end of the discussion, have another volunteer take your place. Then repeat the process with the three volunteers changing roles.

Step 5. (30 minutes)
Explain the guidelines and procedures of the feedback activity. Have participants divide into groups of three and carry it out.

Trainer Notes

Explain that this activity is designed to help build active listening skills, to provide practice in giving and receiving feedback and to sharpen skills in observation and paraphrasing.

There are three roles for each of the three group members: a listener, a person giving feedback or expressing a concern and an observer/timekeeper.

The procedures for carrying out the activity are as follows:

* One person speaks for 30 seconds as in the demonstration.

* Another listens carefully and provides a repetition or paraphrase of what has been said.

* A third observes the interactions between the two on both the verbal and non-verbal levels and interrupts at 30 seconds.

* The speaker gives feedback on the accuracy of the paraphrase.

* The observer shares what has been noticed about the interaction, giving feedback to the speaker and listener.

* The roles change until everyone has had the opportunity to be in each position.

Step 6. (10 minutes)
Have the entire group meet to discuss the activity.

Trainer Notes

Some questions to stimulate this discussion include:

* What factors or behaviors helped you give and receive feedback?
* What behaviors or characteristics made you feel understood or misunderstood by the listener?
* Why are active listening skills important during training and Peace Corps service?
* What problems and solutions were discussed? Was there any resolution of differences or concerns?


* Taken from the Reading Book: Laboratories in Human Relations Training, Washington, D.C.: NTL Institute for Applied Behavior Science, associated with the National Education, 1969.

Some criteria for useful feedback:

1. It is descriptive rather than evaluative. By describing one's own reaction, it leaves the individual free to use it or no. to use it as he/she sees fit. By avoiding evaluative language, it reduces the need for the individual to react defensively.

2. It is specific rather than general. To be told that one is "dominating" will probably not be as useful as to be told that "just now when we were discussing the issue you didn't listen to what others said and I felt forced to accept your arguments or face an attack from you."

3. It takes into account the needs of both the receiver and the giver of feedback. Feedback can be destructive when it serves only our own needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the receiving end.

4. It is directed toward behavior which the receiver can do something about. Frustration is only increased when a person is reminded of some shortcoming over which he has no control.

5. It is solicited, rather than imposed. Feedback is most useful when the receiver him/herself has formulated the kind of question which those observing him/her can answer.

6. It is well-timed. In general, feedback is most useful at the earliest opportunity after the given behavior (depending, of course, on the person's readiness to hear it, support available from others, etc.).

7. It is checked to insure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver try to rephrase the feedback he/ she has received to see if it corresponds to what the sender had in mind.

8. When feedback is given in a group, both giver and receiver have opportunity to check with others in the group the accuracy of the feedback. Is this one person's impression or an impression shared by others?

Feedback, then, is a way of giving help; it is a corrective mechanism for the individual who wants to learn how well his/her behavior matches the intention and it is a means for establishing one's identify -- for answering "who am I?"


Description of Areas:

Area I:

Information about self known to self and known to others. The area of free activity and interaction. "Public or Shared Self"

Area II:

Information about self not known to self and known to others. The Blind Area – sometimes called the "Bad Breath Area."

Area III:

Information about self known to self and not known to others. Avoided or Hidden Area. The "Private or Secret Self."

Area IV:

Information about self not known to self and not known to others. The area of Unknown Activity. The "Area of Hidden Potential."

Most people enter a new environment with a very small Area I (A). There is very little shared information and very little interaction can take place.

As the person becomes more comfortable, he shares some information about him/herself and expands toward Area III (B).

If the person is open for feedback to occur, he expands toward Area II (C).

The result of these two activities is that totally new information and potential in Area IV (D) is discovered. These new learnings from Area IV are directly attributable to interaction in the new environment.

* * *


There is no pressure to "reveal" yourself. There is nothing inherently "good" about having a large Area I. However, having an expanding or expandable Area I does increase your area of interaction and tends to facilitate the entering of a new environment.

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