In Assignment 7, you write one of the three required major essays for Communication 202.
Your Task: Your specific task is to write an essay reporting your efforts to find evidence of facilitative communicative acts in the recorded history of a group of people who worked on a project that eventually turned out to be highly successful. Describe and analyze 5 acts from the article by Raffi Khatchadourian, “We Know How You Feel,” that could be facilitative communicative acts that demonstrate why or how the team was successful.
Note also that in addition to using your skills at reading and judgment, the task invites you to use your previous learnings from this course on meta-communicative terms and context.
Examples There are 10 pages to the article; one of them is a full-page photo. This means that you have 9 pages of descriptive history to scour. To scour for what? To scour for reports by the author of something someone did, specifically reports by the author of someone’s communicative act. Example 1 For example, on the first page of the article (page 50) in the far right column and the first full paragraph, there is the bit of description that reads “…she [Kaliouby] walked me past charts of facial expressions” (50).
That piece of descriptive information contains a description of at least one act: Kaliouby walked. Or it could be stated as: Kaliouby walked Katchadourian past charts of facial expressions… (50).
That is a different act. It is just such bits of description that are available to you for the essay. What would you make of the two bits of description I mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph? Perhaps not much. You might skip over that, thinking that there will be some more obvious examples of communicative acts and facilitative communicative acts farther into the article. I tend to agree with you on that judgment. I chose this example only because it is the first or one of the first actions by Kaliouby, one player in this story that appears in the article. Example 2 In the very next paragraph of the article, the paragraph that begins with “Affectiva is the most…,” there is the statement by the author, on line 4 of the paragraph, that reads “she told me” and this is, to me, an obvious instance of a communicative act because it contains the expression “she told.” This probably isn’t a good candidate for a facilitative communicative act, though, because the telling is simply a matter of saying something to an investigative reporter, and not of saying (or telling) something to a participant in the unfolding drama of the work team’s work and accomplishments. A facilitative communicative act is, by definition, something that might help interacting people to achieve something together. In this case, Kaliouby’s act of telling something to Katchadourian might have helped him get material for his interview, but it seems unlikely that her act in that interaction had anything to do with Kaliouby’s team succeeding at their project. Example 3 On page 53, in the left-hand column, first full paragraph, there is a statement that Kaliouby agreed to sit on the floor, for an interview that might help her get a job that would help her in her long-range project, and that if she had refused to do the sitting-on-the-floor interview her interview would have to be postponed. Her act of sitting on the floor might have been a consequential act for her, as is evidenced by the story as it is told further on page 53. But was it a communicative act? And was it a facilitative act? Laura Crowell says that people sitting together signifies something and in Lesson 6 I treated that as a facilitative communicative act, and in Lesson 6 gave my reason for considering it such. Was I right? You be the judge. Should Kaliouby’s sitting (as reported on page 53) be considered an FCA? I think it’s an open question, and would say, it depends. If you think it is, and you want to use that as an example of an FCA, I’d say, give it a try. Its success would depend on how well you justify it. Analysis I have gone on at length here with some examples of actions reported in “We Know How You Feel,” because I wanted to show you how to go about doing your work for Assignment 7.
As I think you can tell from what I have written, the task of finding candidates for an FCA is possible to do and it requires careful reading and focused thinking and analysis. It also invites (and requires) you to use your reading skills and your judgment skills. Now let’s circle back and re-consider each of the examples I presented (see Examples tab), and I’ll give a summary comment on why they might or might not be candidates for a facilitative communicative act in the life of Kaliouby’s innovation team. What you see immediately below is not a finished write-up but rather notes toward a finished write-up: Example 1 (1) “she walked” (50) refers to the fact that Kaliouby walked. To walk is an action on Kaliouby’s part. It is not, however, a communicative action. It is not, therefore, a facilitative communicative act. Therefore, Kaliouby walked does not make the cut. Example 2 (2) “she walked me past charts of facial expressions” (50) refers to Kaliouby walking the journalist, Katchadourian, past some of the research materials Kaliouby and her team were working on. That Kaliouby walked Katchadourian past some materials the team was working on might have been an intentional act by which she could convey something to Katchadourian, do you think? Maybe so. So maybe this was a candidate for a communicative act and one that facilitated a journalist getting some information with which he could write a report about Kaliouby’s team. So, this walking him past materials might have been a communicative act. That possibly communicative act might have helped Katchadourian write his article and thus it might have facilitated the journalist’s writing something about the team. But this happened after the team had already had big successes, so it seems that, even though the walking him by something might be a communicative act, and it might have facilitated something, it might not be a facilitative communicative act in the context of the team trying to make an important discovery. Therefore Kaliouby’s walking Katchadourian past the materials does not make the cut as an FCA in this case. Example 3 (3) Kaliouby sat on the floor for an interview with “the guy who interviewed” her for a job at a tech startup (53). Is sitting on the floor for an interview a facilitative communicative act? When I first read this, it didn’t occur to me to consider it as an FCA candidate. I was looking for something more obvious and, frankly, something more verbal. But when I worked on this assignment, and re-read Katchadourian’s article (yet again), and shortly after re-reading Crowell’s essay (for the umpteenth time) with its “the leader sits among” phrase, I did a double-take on Kaliouby’s sitting. Her sitting was consequential because her interview that day “made an impression on one of the company’s founders” (53) and that led to a whole series of consequential consequences. So her sitting on the floor was consequential and possibly an FCA because of that. Nonetheless, it isn’t quite communicative enough for me, but I might be wrong. I think there are more obvious examples of FCAs in the story and so I’d pass this one by. But in this context, sitting on the floor when invited to do so might appear to you to be a good candidate for FCA. Advice In the previous three examples, I have tried to give you some examples of how you might work as you scour the article for facilitative communicative act candidates. As you can see, I consider this process a process of reading very closely and very carefully, of making judgments, of trying to justify decisions, and of trying to explain why you nominate something as an FCA. In my opinion, I have left the best candidates for you! Happy searching! Hints Look for meta-communicative terms as signals for FCA. Consider the context of the act. Did it involve the team? Did it lead to success? Analyze the reported dialogue. Is the leader doing anything specific? Is there team energy, engagement, or exploration?
Essay Parts: Write an essay about facilitative communicative acts that you have found in the story of successful discovery that is presented in the article “We Know How You Feel.” The main part of your essay should nominate five acts from the article that you judge to be facilitative communicative acts. For each of these five candidates you should: find the candidate for the status of facilitative communicative act in the article’s description of the project name and describe the candidate as a facilitative communicative act explain why you think the candidate should be considered a facilitative communicative act indicate through quotation marks the words you have taken from the article and from which you create the candidate. In addition to finding and explaining five types of FCAs, you should also write an introductory paragraph and one or two concluding paragraphs.
The concluding paragraph should do one or more of the following: (1) compare and contrast the various FCA candidates you have formulated, (2) describe your thought processes about how you found, named, and explained these candidates, (3) discuss the value to you as a practical communicator of thinking in this way about FCAs. Each FCA candidate can be nominated in one or two paragraphs. The introductory paragraph should be about 100 words and the concluding paragraph about 200 words. General guidelines 1,250 to 1,500 words. You should make extensive use of words and phrases from the article assigned for the Lesson. The quoted material should be should be short quotations that report terms and phrases, not long passages. The essay should demonstrate concretely your mastery of the key analytic terms and concepts of the Lesson. The essay should provide explicit reasoning as to why you think each FCA candidate meets the requirements of an FCA. The essay should be written, with complete sentences, correct spelling, and correct grammar. The essay counts 20 points toward your course grade.
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