Students will understand aspects of the cultural and political history behind the current social movement to change our communication style from antagonistic to connecting
Students will get a sense of the paradigm shift from blame, shame and moralistic judgments to a belief that it is possible in our world to meet everyone’s needs for peace and social justice because of our inherent human desire for giving and receiving from the heart.
Students will understand the steps of NVC by: observing at least one full role-play on the model using a social change theme and by our teaching the steps.
Nonviolent Communication is a philosophy and a communication tool. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves, how we hear others and resolve conflicts by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, valuing and requesting.
It also guides us to reframe how we see others. Do we have an enemy image of the other person or group? Do we think they are morally deficient? NVC helps us to see that we all have the same human values, but that our strategies for living by those values can be very different, sometimes even tragic, e.g. war.
The three main areas that NVC appears to differ from other approaches are:
Empathetic Listening vs. Active Listening
Most other models seem to use the active listening/reflective feedback as opposed to the guessing of feelings and needs, which is step 2 and 3 in NVC
Needs Based Connection vs. Strategy Agreement
In NVC we assume that our basic needs are the same and equal and that with enough empathetic connection we can understand each other and truly want to meet the other person’s needs because we will be in touch with our inherent human need to contribute to the other person’s wellbeing.
Meeting both people needs without compromising:
We can meet our own and the other person’s needs without compromising anything. We may choose to change our need in order to meet our greater need to contribute to the other’s wellbeing. But compromising leads to each party being disappointed or resentful.
In what situations is NVC most useful and in which is it less useful.
When dialoguing with people who are willing to listen and talk and who have hope for resolution
When we do not have direct contact with the “other side”, such as governments and corporations. Then we may choose to employ other strategies such as Gandhi’s use of boycotts and the divestment movement in South Africa.
When I think this, I feel angry and sad and hopeless. I am needing my world to be a safe place for all humans, I am wanting my government not to wage war in my name because I do not support the use of war. I wish other Americans felt the same way I do.
Sounds like this person is worried about another terrorist attack…. I am too._
Annie says to Peter
“ Are you feeling concerned about terrorism because you are wanting a safe world for your children?”
Guessing at the other person’s feelings and values: We do not need to guess correctly because most of the time the other person feels our intention to connect with them and guessing will help them express their feelings and needs. Guessing also lets the other person know that we do not assume that we understand them without first really listening to them.
Example: are you concerned about terrorism because you are wanting a safe country for your children ?
Feelings: After stating the observation, we state the feeling that was triggered in us. We stick with actual feeling rather than thoughts that analyze and judge. And we take responsibility for our emotional reaction rather than blaming someone else.
Example: I feel angry and very sad because……
Needs: State the human need that is beneath the feeling. Needs are universal, and so they can be understood by others
Example: I am also wanting/needing a safe place for my children and the Iraqi children to live……
Request: State the request for something that is possible for the listener to do here and now—and what you want, not what you don’t want. A request is different from a demand in that if the request fails to elicit the desired response, we don’t impose a consequence (e.g. act hurt, irritated, etc)
Example: It would help me know that I’m understood if you would be willing to say back to me what you heard me say.