Communication Accommodation Theory - PowerPoint by hFYQX75

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Accommodation Theory
 (Founded by Howard Giles et al. 1973)

      Researched and Presented by

           Julia Maine

Teaching Basic Literacy
     to students with
 Learning Difficulties
 Communication Accommodation Theory

 How we accommodate our communication
  to one another to become more alike or by
  defining our differences;

 our motivations for doing so and the
           adapting communication
           to accommodate others

 Increase communication efficiency;
 Accommodate the differences in language,
  ability, culture, etc. of others;
 Gain social approval or desired level of
  social distance.
          How we adapt communication

Subconscious or conscious choices are made about
whose communication system to use and how much to
           accommodate each other.

The theory takes note of two communication tendencies:

            Convergence      Divergence

   These tendencies may be mutual or non-mutual


• Mirror other person’s vocabulary, accent, speech rate, grammar, voice
•   Match other person’s gestures, mannerisms, dress, hair, etc.
•   Often based on attraction, charisma, credibility and motive

Gains or motives

•   Improves effectiveness of communication
•   Makes other person more confident and willing to respond
•   Maintains positive self-identity and brings approval
•   Makes ourselves more like those we are attracted to and engenders
    their liking


•   Works in opposite direction to convergence
•   Speaks and gestures differently from other person
•   Can be based on disdain for other person (or their behaviour) and
    desire to remain different from them

Gains or motives

•   Accentuates differences between the parties
•   Reinforces individual or group identity
•   Discourages a relationship or from engaging in lengthy conversation
    CAT in Practice

Accommodating the Needs of
Adult Basic Literacy Students
          with SEN
      Problems experienced by students with
               learning difficulties

 Understanding long, complex sentences
 Limited vocabulary
 Understanding abstract concepts
 Poor listening skills and concentration span
 Lack of confidence in abilities
 Inappropriate patterns of communication, e.g. talking
  too loudly, rigidity in their routines with lack of
  patience & flexibility to adapt
 Possible accompanying behaviour difficulties
  Accommodating Student Needs
       in lesson planning and teaching

In applying CAT theories consider:

 what skills and behaviour we want to develop;
 what we want to change or modify;
 how to accommodate communication &
  behaviour styles that cannot be changed;
 how to encourage students to accommodate to
                    Convergence in Practice
Enhance communication, understanding and learning

•   Simplify vocabulary & sentence structure
•   Slow down speech rate, longer/more pauses
•   Support explanations with clear, attractive diagrams and text
•   Pitch materials at student’s level of abilities
•   Match materials to student’s personal interests, e.g. football topics, etc
•   Maintain level of routine for those unable to cope with change

Engender liking & approval

•   Share social situations, e.g. coffee breaks
•   Reciprocate smiling & eye contact
•   Mirror gestures, e.g. thumbs up
•   Show interest and support in students’ interests or personal problems
                 Divergence in Practice

Correcting poor English

•   Stress correct pronunciation of words, punctuation, grammar etc.
•   Stress importance of reading & writing to reluctant readers/writers
•   Introduce new vocabulary

Behaviour Modification

•   To affirm authority over disruptive students, speak with calm,
    professional manner
•   Speak softly to encourage loud speaking students to adopt a more
    reserved style
•   Emphasise eye contact when student avoids
•   If student is negative and depressive - maintain cheerful disposition
           Dangers of Overaccommodating


 Patronizing ‘baby talk’, such as ‘poor little dear’
 Depersonalizing language, such as ‘it’s nice that you people get
  out of the house’
 Third-party talk, where a person directs communication not at the
  person with a disability but to a nondisabled person with them,
  e.g. ‘Does he take cream in his coffee?’
  (Fox & Giles, 1996)

 Patronizing talk can be damaging as it could discourage
  students’ independence.

We have applied:

 Convergence to accommodate communication & behaviour patterns
  that cannot, or need not be changed
 Divergence to develop necessary literacy skills and to modify
  inappropriate behaviour
 A delicate balance of convergence - divergence with convergence
  slightly dominant, particularly from the start to develop good rapport.
  Converging teachers are viewed favourably by students.
  Accommodating students’ styles leads to students reciprocating.
  We have convergence!
  Students who like their teachers are more likely to accommodate
  them by staying on task and following rules!

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