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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?

Trouble - Avoid It!

Look closer at the conversation between Allison and Diane.  Visit Ignoring Needs.  When everyone involved in a situation feels listened to and as if their needs are considered, problems are best resolved.  Allison backed down and gave up rather quickly without trying to get her need for quiet met.  She will probably feel resentful of and angry towards Diane every night when she tries to get some sleep.  Allison seems afraid to go directly after what she needs.  She will either forget her own needs and do without, or she will possibly try to get back at Diane through seesaw communication.  She will try to put Diane down somehow, ignore her, or act snappy, arguing and complaining about other things.  Nothing was resolved in their conversation and they are set up for more battles.

Communities experience this same kind of inadequate problem-solving because of poor communication.  Sometimes people or groups ignore fighting for their rights, social change, and justice, because they ignore their needs.  When this happens, anger builds. 

Find three examples of similar situations in your school, community, or in the news and summarize them in the text box provided on the attached worksheet. 


The walls in the hallways of the apartment building were chipping and the building was not being maintained, but the tenants tried to ignore it.  The tenants thought they could not do anything to change the situation.  When the building began to fall apart, angry tenants finally stormed into the landlord's office demanding changes or they would all move out.

After completing the attached worksheet, discuss your examples with your teacher and classmates.


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Is assertive communication always the best way to go? Before you decide to speak assertively in a given situation, you have to decide if you can live with the consequences. Although assertive communication usually will result in a positive response, some people might react negatively to it. For example, if your teacher is completely unreasonable and is known to go ballistic if anyone dares question his or her orders, even non-aggressive, respectful, assertive communication might set him or her off. If that's your situation, then you may decide you can't afford to speak assertivelyand learn other communication skills.

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

The Dirksen Congressional CenterCopyright 2008