The Signs of Communication

With communication today, two extremities of communication exist: self-expression and speaking with discretion. Self-expression, or speaking openly on any topic without much censorship or use of etiquette, is common by most of the population. The second, opposite extreme, is speaking with discretion and saying very little in order to preserve one’s reputation. This is more typical of professionals and anyone of class, although it may not necessarily always the case. How are either of these improving the way we communicate? How are both of these skewing the line of civilized communication?

Self-Expression
The first extreme of communication is self-expression which has become an acceptable way to communicate today for most Americans. Unlike other countries, the United States does not have laws against hate speech. What a person says has no societal limitations in most settings. With this increase in self-expression, and decrease in societal parameters for civilized speech, the majority of the population feels they can say whatever they want—and for the most part they do. There is little thought put into what is said. Rather than considering how what is communicated might hurt or offend another, the priority is placed on voicing opinions without discretion, using uncivilized expressions, and being heard.

In the past, social standards influenced improper communication. In Roman and Greek cultures, speaking was seen as an art which had to be mastered before a person was given the right to speak on a topic. It could take years to master becoming an orator. The aspiring speaker had to first learn the art by studying the writings of philosophers, mastering grammar, and learning how to speak. In more modern times, within the United States, social standards set the acceptability of civilized speech and good etiquette. Even a minor comment could eliminate a person from social circles. Differences of opinion could certainly make for a worthy topic of discussion. However, being cordial was expected at a minimum for more vivacious discussions which could lead to arguments. It was possible for people to be accepted, although they might have differing opinions, and still be valued and respected with human dignity.

Within the last 50 years, there has been a shift to self-expression. The ability to say whatever is on a person’s mind is acceptable whether in person or online. There are hardly any limits to what a person may speak about. Open communication is seen as a way to provide transparency and the “honest story” of any person or situation. While this has many benefits, it crosses a line when dignity is stepped upon and boundaries are crossed. Consideration is necessary before speaking with regards to whom a person is talking to, if the topic is appropriate, and the choice of respectful words which are said for a pleasant conversation. Talking about anything can be very damaging. In fact, much of what people talk about has veered away from “ideas” and “intellectual topics”. Instead, what is more common is digressive speech such as gossip or speaking of topics which are inappropriate, very personal or sensitive in nature, or comments which might advertise the negative rather than focus on the positive. There is no preservation of the human dignity of a person. What needs to be said, is what is said, regardless of how it may hurt or offend the other person.

On social networks, a simple post can flare up into a war of replies within seconds. This trolling is often classified inaccurately as a “discussion” and “freedom of speech”. It would be better described as intolerance for a different view which triggers others chiming in to counter the post with an escalating degree of negativity and close-mindedness. These can occur even on simple posts that may not have any intent to attract opinions, but which result in a soapbox of negative, heated, responses. While self-expression allows for openness and problem solving, it can also open the door for adversity. Communication on digressive topics, and intentionally creating unnecessary conflict are examples of unhealthy communication. Speaking about anything without consideration of another person is rude and uncivilized.

The Power of Silence
The other extreme for communication is to choose to say very little or to remain silent. By speaking cautiously a person is more likely to preserve their good reputation. It also provides safety, by finding no partiality to any party or issue. The person remains politically correct by withholding an opinion. In many spiritual teachings, silence is perceived as golden. By remaining silent, a person can reflect wisdom. Remaining silent, a person does not reveal what they know or do not know. Likewise, by not speaking, there is less of a chance of speaking in an unintelligent manner, speaking offensively, or divulging information which should not be revealed. Remaining silent is also a way to absorb heated conflict, inappropriate speech, and to buy in time to respond with a more thoughtful response.

There is a time and a place to speak. George Washington said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter”.  While we should speak out rather than remain silent on situations of injustice, on political views or ways that may affect our life, saying less, rather than more can be a way which contributes to civility. Voicing an opinion without consideration, can breed hate more than solve problems. This is where uncivilized speech occurs. In today’s culture, it is more likely that the freedom of speech is taken too far through the self-expression of uncivilized conversation. Self-expression can be the ignition of unnecessary conflict just to express an opinion. When freedom of speech is taken to this extreme, responding with silence can help swing the equilibrium of communication, bringing it back to more peaceful speech and civilized communication. Knowing when to speak and when not to speak is important.

Finding the Balance with Human Dignity and Respect
Some social and professional settings still have standards for communication, although uncivilized speech is more popular. Realizing that there is a place for self-expression while maintaining a standard for civilized communication is the challenge which we face today. Many do not recognize digressive communication. Being desensitized by the current standard, hardly anyone today questions inappropriate speech which is on the tongues of most and found in media and by leaders. If culture continues to accept digressive speech, it is a reflection on our country, acceptability for digression and lack of etiquette, and is an insult to the right to the Freedom of Speech which we have. The First Amendment was created for Americans to speak up for freedom and liberties for all. With an acceptability of hate speech and speaking on digressive topics, society is infected with negativity, hate, unacceptability, intolerance for differences, immaturity, a lack of professionalism, and lack of human dignity. It shows an inability to communicate and interact with others. For a country which prides itself on being a melting pot, this is not congruent. Although not everyone will get along, there needs to be a greater degree of respect for differences whether it is race, belief, lifestyle, ability, economic or any other characteristic. Valuing differences and human life needs a higher tolerance and acceptance. Inequality will always exist, but human dignity needs to be upheld. Since the primary problem of unacceptability stems from inappropriate speech, correcting communication that is off-balance can help set society upright to a culture with a civilized standard.


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Books
Freedom of Speech: Rights and Liberties under the Law (America’s Freedoms)
by Ken I. Kersch

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World
by Timothy Garton Ash

Free Speech and Censorship: Examining the Facts (Contemporary Debates)
by Harold L. Pohlman

Choosing Civility
by P.M. Forni

The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude
by P.M. Forni

The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It
by Os Guinness

Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration
by Teresa M. Bejan

Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation
by George Washington and Tony Darnel

Movie
Shouting Fire: Stories From The Edge Of Free Speech
Director: Liz Garbus
Documentary
Rating: NR

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SAY…WHAT!?! About Speech

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If you think Freedom of Speech means the freedom to say anything, think again. Defamation and other speech can be civil offenses. On the 4th of July we celebrate our country’s independence and the freedoms we have as Americans. The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech but how are many turning this into the liberty of hate speech? Learn more about defamation, slander, and effective communication. The content below shares valuable information on communication and the different between good speech and traps that we fall in with our tongue. View the infographic and read or listen to the podcast here!

Download the Infographic: How-To Communication with Etiquette SAY…WHAT!?!

What you says matters and speaking well of others is where winners are at. Join Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness for the podcast: How To Phrase It and You Can Quote Me. This podcast talks about how what you say matters especially when Freedom of Speech is taken too far. Learn ways to improve your relationships and how you speak by listening to the podcasts this month and joining this month’s online book discussions. Reach for a higher standard when it comes to communication. Be Cultured. Be Kind.

Listen to the Podcast
How To Phrase It and You Can Quote Me

Read the Script for the Podcast
How-To Phrase It and You Can Quote Me


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Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World
by Timothy Garton Ash

Speak If Thou Dare:
An Absolutist Defence of the Freedom of Speech in the Age of Enforced Silence

by Michael Tapakoudes

Movie
Shouting Fire: Stories From The Edge Of Free Speech

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LeClaude Learning Center

Our Schools and Programs
LeClaude Learning Center knows the importance of a good education. It take instruction and practice to master material. At LeClaude Learning Center, we have specialized teachers who are trained to teach in small group settings as well as one-on-one to help your child master areas in the arts, language, literacy, and mathematics. Our programs are paced to fit the needs of the student, helping them rapidly progress toward achieving goals. We identify how students learn best and implement creative lessons for fun and effective instruction. We pride ourselves in our customized workout plans, utilizing differentiated instructional strategies, to meet the varying needs of all students and exceed the established standards. Whether it’s learning a new subject area or reinforcing classroom material, our instructors bring motivation, enthusiasm, and expertise for quality instruction and providing an excellent classroom experience.  learningcenter_students 

Arts
Our arts program includes studies in dance, fine art, theater, and music. Students have the opportunity to study these areas and showcase their accomplishments. Instructors from these programs are highly experienced in their discipline and in instruction. Each program is offered for all ages, meeting grade level objectives and challenging students beyond grade level. The following is a list of the program offerings in the Arts Program.

DANCE 
The dance program offers classes in ballet, hip-hop, tap and choreography. Our instructors come from the top dance schools from around the United States. The choreography class is the first in the nation to teach students under the age of 14 how to design choreography performances. Students have the opportunity to perform in quarterly arts performances in March, June, September, and December. These performances are held in the main auditorium.

FINE ART 
The art program offers classes in drawing, painting, calligraphy, and clay. Each year the community is invited to see the art created from this program. Student’s artwork is displayed in our Galleríe Display and students also have a chance to sell their artwork in the ArtWork Exhibition.

THEATER
Theater classes are taught by performers from Broadway. Each year, this program hosts 4 plays open to the general public. Students learn drama techniques, rehearsal techniques, facial expressions, tonal variations, and body language. We also offer a costume and set decorating class where students learn how to build sets and costumes.

MUSIC
Students have the opportunity to learn to sing as part of an acapella choir, individually, or learn to play a specific instrument. As part of the program, students perform as part of the quarterly Talent Show. 

Language
Our language program includes studies in English, writing, literature, and foreign languages. These courses are offered to students looking to enhance literacy or learn a new language. Students will gather a greater understanding and mastery of the English language, writing, and literary classics. Students studying foreign languages will have plenty of resources to learn the language and practice it with chances for immersion programs and international travel.

ENGLISH
We teach mastering the English language by improving the use of proper grammar and expansion of vocabulary. Students learn how to research and develop outlines, write at an advanced level using MLA and AP Styles, and proof-reading techniques for editing. Students have the chance to work with local newspapers on projects to practice their skills.

WRITING
In our writing course, students have the chance to write different types of genre including research papers, editorial, copywriting, poetry, and song lyrics. Student writings are published both on the student’s individual website as well as in a printed journal which is used to showcase their progress and work.

LITERATURE
The literature program enhances literacy as students read a selection of the classics, fiction, and non-fiction books. Discussions between students are done in class and through the online class forum to dive into main topics, themes, and questions posed. Instructors work one-on-one with students who may be struggling with reading classics in school and assist in understanding the writings and working their way through the text.

FOREIGN LANGUAGES
We also offer various foreign languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Hebrew, Mandarin, Marathi, and Swahili. Students have the chance to learn individually one-on-one with native speakers, in small group settings to practice conversation, and by using interactive media in the language lab to practice grammar and vocabulary. Travel abroad programs are offered yearly for students to visit countries and experience the culture. The exchange student program works in tandem with local school districts to offer international immersion. 

Math
Our mathematics program offers one-on-one advancement in elementary, secondary, and college mathematics. We teach using manipulatives and hands-on-application practices. Interactive media is available in the computer lab for additional practice with puzzles, virtual reality math games, and quizzes. Our advanced math instructors have doctorates degrees in Math and are masters at clarity with explanations and providing visual to demonstrate math theories.

ELEMENTARY MATH
Elementary math concepts are taught and practiced in tandem with grade-level, classroom learning objectives. Students have manipulatives available to apply math concepts. Color coding systems are used as visual goal setters for students along with rewards for accomplishments. Students are introduced to number sense and methods to learn how to computing numbers quickly. Students are introduced to new math concepts filled with creative, fun-filled, instruction.

SECONDARY MATH
Students studying secondary math have instructors available to teach algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Class time is divided into a daily review session of previously taught material, instruction on new material, and then practical application. Students have time set aside each class to address questions and challenging areas. The computer lab is available for students to practice what they have learned using interactive media.

COLLEGE MATH
College math concepts are taught one-on-one with accomplished math instructors. These instructors teach math theory and practical application. Topics available for instruction include statistics, linear algebra, math modeling, probability, calculus I and II. 

Applications Process

The application process is simple. Go to our website at http://www.LeClaudeLearningCenter.edu and register for a course. Fill out the online form and submit it. You will be contacted within 24 hours to complete final registration and payment. An appointment will be scheduled to meet with the school, class instructor, and complete an assessment. Customized instruction will be created for your child in each enrolled subject area. Classes start each quarter in January, March, June, and September.  

LeClaude and Beyond
Our goal is to have your student reach their goals and beyond, successfully prepared for their next endeavors. We build a foundation from which your child can transition to the next level. 

We are happy to build a portfolio of your student’s work, provide references, and help assist in application processes for college and employment. Our alumni club will attest to the success of our highly acclaimed school and programs. Please join us on the 15th of each month for a catered alumni event where students, families, and prospective students can meet with alumni to ask questions and have an understanding of the dynamics of our school.[LeClaude Learning Center is a proposed concept for a sample project]


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