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What is Communicating in Communities All About Seesaw Communication Seesaw Craze Being Right or Finding a Solution Looking Closer Ignoring Needs Trouble - Avoid It!

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What is Citizenship? Attitudes and Actions Responsible Citizenship Communicating Keeping Freedom What Do You Think?

Seesaw Craze

Take another look at Michelle and Sandy's seesaw conversation.  Visit Seesaw Communication.  The person trying to push up on the seesaw is possibly trying to feel superior, dominate, in control, right, and powerful while trying to make the person going down on the seesaw feel inferior, obedient, wrong, and powerless.  This is being accomplished through put–downs, slurs and sometimes abuse, or violence. 

Seesaw cycles of communication between people or groups really do exist.  Find three examples in your school, community, or the news and summarize each situation in the text box provided on the attached worksheet.


Women fighting by putting men down, calling them names – Women fighting for equal rights with men.

A gang of white boys attacks and injures a black boy.  The black community verbally attacks whites –– Racial issues.

After completing the attached worksheet, discuss with your teacher and classmates how the individuals or groups involved in each situation you summarized could communicate better.


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When you are speaking with a friend, think of yourself sitting on a seesaw with your friend on the other end. When you dominate a conversation, you appear to be a big, heavy eighth grader sitting on the seesaw with a skinny little second grader. You are the heavyweight and your friend isn’t having any fun. In fact, the lighter person doesn’t like being suspended in mid- air - it makes him or her feel powerless and small. And you end up looking like the playground bully. The heavier you are (more knowledgeable or more status) the closer you have to move toward your friend to balance things out. When you are trying to move closer to your friend, the conversational seesaw should move up and down so both of you are contributing to the experience. Ask questions and listen to the answers.

*Citizenship section select ideas derived from Citizenship, Learning to Live as Responsible Citizens, published by Good Apple, Inc.

The Dirksen Congressional CenterCopyright 2008