Lesson 1: Sassenach

In lesson one, we will examine the foundations of Interpersonal Communication. You will need to be familiar with:

  • Why we communicate
  • Transactional model of communication (see graph)
  • Principles of communication
  • Misconceptions of communication
  • Characteristics of a competent communicator.

You can learn more about these concepts here: Interplay. Read through the information, be familiar with these concepts, then watch episode 101 of Outlander on Starz, or read the first four chapters of Outlander (or both!). You may even want to make notes about the concepts and how they are depicted in the episode.

Then, answer one or more of these questions in the comments below:

  1. How are the social needs of communication met in this episode? Physical needs? Identity needs? Practical needs? Give specific examples.
  2. How do Claire and the Highlanders represent the transactional model, particularly at the cabin? What noises are present? How do their environments affect this interaction?
  3. What principles of communication are exhibited in the episode? Provide the principle and a specific scene.
  4. What misconceptions of communication are exhibited in the episode? Provide the misconception and a specific scene.
  5. Is Claire a competent communicator? If so, what characteristics of competence does she exhibit? If not, why not?
  6. How can you use what you have learned in this lesson in your life and relationships? Be as specific as you feel comfortable sharing.

I look forward to seeing your answers and comments on this lesson.

Thank you for participating!

Our next lessonCastle Leoch & Culture

One comment

  1. Looks like I may need to get the conversation started. So, I will answer question 5: Is Claire a competent communicator?

    Communication competence consists of many components. Those competent in communicating realize there isn’t one single way to communicate. They know that competence is situational; what works in one situation may not work in another. Competent communicators have a large repertoire of skills on which to rely. They are also adaptable, involved, and empathetic. They are self-monitoring, or always careful about how they are communicating both verbally and non-verbally. Claire exhibits these characteristics in episode one, particularly at the cabin when first meeting the group of Highlanders.

    Claire knows she isn’t in 20th century Scotland anymore, but isn’t quite sure “when” she is. She is hesitant to reveal too much about herself because it may put her in danger. She adapts well to the situation in trying to blend into the background at the cabin, but cannot help but to get involved in the situation at hand (the “boy,” who we later find out is Jamie, is injured). She is empathetic to his pain and wants to help, but realizes that much of what she is saying about “modern” 1940s medicine is lost on the group; they do not understand all of her terminology. She adapts her language to meet the understanding of the group (“I’m a nurse.” [gets a look from the men] “not a WET nurse!”). She keeps her cool and is able to connect with the men without panicking about her new situation. This is why I think Claire is a competent communicator in this episode. Future competence is to be determined! 🙂

    I can use this in my own life by learning more about the components of communication competence and practicing them on a regular basis. Can I be more adaptable to a situation? Can I learn to be more empathetic? Can I be more involved in conversations/situations and take on new perspectives? The answer to these questions is ‘yes!’ Communication competence can be learned, and I can improve my communication competence through practice. What about you?


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