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Changing the mask-wearing and social distancing messaging: An online discussion

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With the number of coronavirus infections rising in a number of locations, it’s particularly disturbing to see how many of those new cases are in young adults (see for example Florida, Texas, and South Carolina). It looks like many young adults do not see COVID-19 as a serious illness. Because this is a new illness, we don’t know what the long-term effects may be in survivors. At least some young adults are not considering the role they may play in giving it to someone else – someone that the virus may kill. And, yes, some of those young adults will end up hospitalized, taking up a bed that could be used by someone else.

Since your Intro Psych class may be filled with a lot of young adults, the social psych chapter may be a good place to tackle some of what may be driving these risky coronavirus-related behaviors.

While this is presented as an asynchronous online discussion, it may be easily adapted as a synchronous discussion or as a stand-alone assignment.

The compliment/comment/connection/question framework is courtesy of Jenn Stewart-Mitchell.

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Initial post

Part A. Read “Don’t personalize, collectivise!” Find a quote from the article that you found interesting and in 100+ words of reflection, explain why. Be sure to use quotation marks for your quote; the quotation is not part of the 100+ word count.

Part B. In 50+ words, reflect on the kinds of messages you are getting regarding the coronavirus. Would you say that the messages you are hearing about social distancing and wearing masks are more about what’s best for you as an individual or what’s best for everyone as a collective? Where are you hearing these messages?

Part C. Regardless of what you personally think, imagine that you would like the young adults around you to wear masks and engage in social distancing. Identify three collectivist messages you could give them that would encourage either wearing masks or social distancing.

Responses

Please respond to the initial discussion posts written by at least two of your classmates.

Part A. In 50+ words, respond to the quote chosen with at least two of the following:

  • A compliment, e.g., "I like how... because...," I like that... because..."
  • A comment, e.g., "I agree that... because...," "I disagree that... because..."
  • A connection, e.g., "I have also thought that...," "That reminds me of..."
  • A question, e.g., "I wonder why...," "I wonder how..." 

Part B. In 50+ words, respond to the types of messages heard with at least two of the following:

  • A compliment, e.g., "I like how... because...," I like that... because..."
  • A comment, e.g., "I agree that... because...," "I disagree that... because..."
  • A connection, e.g., "I have also thought that...," "That reminds me of..."
  • A question, e.g., "I wonder why...," "I wonder how..." 

Part C. In 100+ words, would you say that each of the messages given is more collectivist or individualistic? Explain for each. Do you think any of these messages would influence the behavior of any of the young adults in your life? Would who delivered the messages have an impact? Explain.

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About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology in community colleges since 1992, and has been at Highline College in the Seattle area since 2001. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award . She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed.