Saturday, January 1, 2011

Nonviolent Communication

Following up from the previous post, I have to acknowledge my commitment to nonviolent communication and the scaffolding it provides for my personal teaching experience.

Heh, I'm not saying that I'm always a nonviolent communicator!  But it does inform my perspective.  Students will be exposed to this approach if they spend more than a few hours in my classes.  Given recent readings, I question this but I also say: that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Some sources that have been important to me over the years (since way before I began teaching English):

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

My husband picked this book up from an independent bookstore in Victoria, B.C. one year when we were on vacation.  Perhaps August of 2001?  The fundamentals of good communication, in my opinion!

The Assertiveness Workbook by Randy Paterson

I think I may have gotten this one in an independent bookstore (maybe in Canada too!).  Anyway, It blew me away.  Chapter 5 alone is worth the price of admission -- it lists a number of solid, emotionally-sound beliefs that one can carry into life.  Successful communication depends (in my opinion) on having these beliefs in the back pocket while communicating.  I'm still learning (and always will be), but whenever possible I try to model  these in class.  They do flavor my approach.

Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness The Dalai Lama

If you happen to find this book in the library or a bookstore and don't have a lot of time, just read the last chapter.  A rational and non-religious argument for nonviolent communication as the foundation for life.  Of course, the Dalai Lama is not a non-religious man -- but his ideas can be used to strengthen and support ANY religion.  Or none.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Yeh, I could be reading my already-strong beliefs into his book.  Or not.  I think he argues for much the same as the books above. From the perspective of a man who survived a concentration camp.

Although The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching was more influential to me in general, Thich Nhat Hanh's book Anger is more specifically about nonviolent communication.  Don't be fooled by the simple language. ETA: Another deceptively simple, but highly influential book is Peace is Every Step.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

Many of her books have been helpful, but this one addresses nonviolent communication very well.

Daniel Goleman, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Paul Ekman and a number of other rational-minded authors also tie in to my thoughts on nonviolent communication. Hey, Lakey's book (just finished, see earlier posts) fits right in! ETA: also local heroes Aaron Beck and Martin Seligman ...