Bubbled Space: First Communications

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BUBBLED SPACE: FIRST COMMUNICATION PATTERNS

By Alexa Sokol

Photo courtesy of the author

 

During the month of April, the Ethics in Communication class hosted a guest appearance by Verena Schmid, the founder of the Elemental School of Midwifery Art. Student Alexa Sokol describes the lecture workshop that was designed to experiment with non-verbal communication, particularly through the examination of the first communication patterns of human beings.

As a student from a large university, it is rare to have a class under 40 students. Since being here, classes have been a lot more hands on, which has given me new experience learning.  In the Ethics in Communication class I have especially gained insight on several different learning techniques and methods. Our “first communications” learning experience was extremely unique and intriguing. Sitting with our eyes closed, the quite of the room was uncomfortable. Although we knew we would be engaging in this experiment together, we were still unfamiliar with each other to be confident in its success. We listened carefully as our instructor began to draw pictures in our minds, by describing a safe place, in a personal bubble. Of course, it was not easy to let my mind create such an image, but I tried my best. Creating this bubble was the first step in understanding the lesson’s purpose. The bubble I imagined could be understood as my personal space, and as the lesson continued we continued to test its limits.

The next part of the lesson was probably the most impacting in my opinion, because it gave insight to our unspoken communication amongst each other. We closed our eyes and moved around the room slowly, as to not bump into anyone too hard or clumsily. Even though each of our eyes were closed, we could still feel the proximity to other people, and had an understanding of our personal space. This aspect of nonverbal communication was extremely interesting to me, because it highlights all of the ways we interact with each other without words or symbols.

This activity stuck with me, especially while I traveled to museums following this experience. In the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam, I noticed how everyone made their way around the exhibits in a similar way to how we did in class. Being mindful not to bump into anyone, and moving around, changing position based on other people’s location. Without having to communicate, everyone inched around with a certain respect to people’s space. Even though no one spoke the same language this was a wonderful example of how each of us maintain connected to others.

To conclude the class lesson, the lecturer summed up our physical actions into a concise understanding of a human being’s first communication patterns. As a child before birth, verbal communication is not relevant. However, these communicating patterns are important in understanding the connection between mother and child.

About the guest lecturer:
Verena Schmid is a certified midwife and lecturer in Salutophysiology and Salutogensis in midwifery. She is an author and the founder of the International School of Midwifery Art in Florence and the professional magazine D&D Donna e Donna. She leads the project Centro Benessere Maternità in Florence and has been recognized by the international award Astrid Limburg in 2000 for her efforts to promote midwifery within a health paradigm.


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