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Let’s talk about Personal Space
Personal space in different cultures
Source: http://esl-bits.net/advanced.listening/Media/2013-05-22/Personal.Space/index.html
Accessed: November 28, 2014
Personal space …
Scientists have determined exactly how close is
too close when standing next to someone, by
looking at when people begin to feel
threatened.
Between eight and 16 inches from our faces.
• They also found that the distance also
increases with anxiety. The more anxious a
person was found to be, the larger their
personal space was.
By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent 10:01PM BST 27 Aug 2013
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10269459/Personal-space-how-close-
is-too-close.html Accessed: November 28, 2014
Are you a space invader?
Space invader activity
Your teacher is going to ask you to stand at one
side of the classroom, while your partner stands
at the other.
Taking one step at a time, walk toward each
other.
Stop when you start to feel uncomfortable.
Personal space in Canada
Source: http://esl-bits.net/advanced.listening/Media/2013-05-22/Personal.Space/index.html
Accessed: November 28, 2014
How close is too close…
• in your home (with friends / family)
• in an elevator
• while on a form of transportation (train / subway)
• while driving (car to car)
• in a car with other passengers
• standing and talking to
> someone you know
> someone you don’t know.
• Standing in line for the ATM / grocery store /
movie theatre
Jerry Seinfeld gave us the term “close talker” from his sitcom.
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGVSIkEi3mM
Title: Social awareness- close talker.wmv
Season 5, episode 18
Who has a sibling that has
done the “I’m not touching
you.” thing?
Why does that bother us?
Try the Luncheon Test
• Try this simple test next time you eat with someone.
Unspoken territorial rules state that a restaurant table is
divided equally down the middle and the staff carefully
place the salt, pepper, sugar, flowers and other
accessories equally on the center line.
As the meal progresses, subtly move the salt cellar across
to the other person's side, then the pepper, flowers and
so on. Before long this subtle territorial invasion will
cause a reaction in your lunch-mate.
They will either sit back to regain their space or start
pushing everything back to the center.
Source: http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/book_of_body_language/chap9.html
Accessed: November 28, 2014
Note to teacher:
If you have a small class:
Before class, ask one student to help you with this.
Put some tables together, so that everyone can sit together.
Ask students to discuss the following together (give slips of paper)
As you discuss the questions, you and your student should try out the “luncheon
test” (previous slide) by slowly invading someone else’s space, and see what
happens. Don’t say anything until after you have talked about each of the questions.
As soon as you’re done, ask students how they felt, or if they even noticed. 
THEN show this power point and discuss.
*possible answer to #3 – we often ignore those around us, avoid eye contact and
move as soon as we see space for us to go.
Space invader activity: ask students how they felt, did it make a difference that their
partner was a friend / someone they don’t know well? Did it matter if the person
was of the opposite sex or same? If their partner was from a different culture, did
they have a similar amount of personal space?
print
1. If a stranger smiles at you, do you smile back? Why or why not?
2. If you were sitting on a park bench by yourself and someone sat down next to you, would
you talk to them? Why or why not?
3. If you’re in a crowded bus where having your personal space invaded is unavoidable, how
do you cope?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. If a stranger smiles at you, do you smile back? Why or why not?
2. If you were sitting on a park bench by yourself and someone sat down next to you, would
you talk to them? Why or why not?
3. If you’re in a crowded bus where having your personal space invaded is unavoidable, how
do you cope?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. If a stranger smiles at you, do you smile back? Why or why not?
2. If you were sitting on a park bench by yourself and someone sat down next to you, would
you talk to them? Why or why not?
3. If you’re in a crowded bus where having your personal space invaded is unavoidable, how
do you cope?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/05/05/181126380/how-
different-cultures-handle-personal-space
*interesting site

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Personal space

  • 1. Let’s talk about Personal Space
  • 2. Personal space in different cultures Source: http://esl-bits.net/advanced.listening/Media/2013-05-22/Personal.Space/index.html Accessed: November 28, 2014
  • 3. Personal space … Scientists have determined exactly how close is too close when standing next to someone, by looking at when people begin to feel threatened. Between eight and 16 inches from our faces. • They also found that the distance also increases with anxiety. The more anxious a person was found to be, the larger their personal space was. By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent 10:01PM BST 27 Aug 2013 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10269459/Personal-space-how-close- is-too-close.html Accessed: November 28, 2014
  • 4. Are you a space invader?
  • 5. Space invader activity Your teacher is going to ask you to stand at one side of the classroom, while your partner stands at the other. Taking one step at a time, walk toward each other. Stop when you start to feel uncomfortable.
  • 6. Personal space in Canada Source: http://esl-bits.net/advanced.listening/Media/2013-05-22/Personal.Space/index.html Accessed: November 28, 2014
  • 7. How close is too close… • in your home (with friends / family) • in an elevator • while on a form of transportation (train / subway) • while driving (car to car) • in a car with other passengers • standing and talking to > someone you know > someone you don’t know. • Standing in line for the ATM / grocery store / movie theatre
  • 8. Jerry Seinfeld gave us the term “close talker” from his sitcom. • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGVSIkEi3mM Title: Social awareness- close talker.wmv Season 5, episode 18
  • 9. Who has a sibling that has done the “I’m not touching you.” thing? Why does that bother us?
  • 10. Try the Luncheon Test • Try this simple test next time you eat with someone. Unspoken territorial rules state that a restaurant table is divided equally down the middle and the staff carefully place the salt, pepper, sugar, flowers and other accessories equally on the center line. As the meal progresses, subtly move the salt cellar across to the other person's side, then the pepper, flowers and so on. Before long this subtle territorial invasion will cause a reaction in your lunch-mate. They will either sit back to regain their space or start pushing everything back to the center. Source: http://westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/book_of_body_language/chap9.html Accessed: November 28, 2014
  • 11. Note to teacher: If you have a small class: Before class, ask one student to help you with this. Put some tables together, so that everyone can sit together. Ask students to discuss the following together (give slips of paper) As you discuss the questions, you and your student should try out the “luncheon test” (previous slide) by slowly invading someone else’s space, and see what happens. Don’t say anything until after you have talked about each of the questions. As soon as you’re done, ask students how they felt, or if they even noticed.  THEN show this power point and discuss. *possible answer to #3 – we often ignore those around us, avoid eye contact and move as soon as we see space for us to go. Space invader activity: ask students how they felt, did it make a difference that their partner was a friend / someone they don’t know well? Did it matter if the person was of the opposite sex or same? If their partner was from a different culture, did they have a similar amount of personal space?
  • 12. print 1. If a stranger smiles at you, do you smile back? Why or why not? 2. If you were sitting on a park bench by yourself and someone sat down next to you, would you talk to them? Why or why not? 3. If you’re in a crowded bus where having your personal space invaded is unavoidable, how do you cope? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. If a stranger smiles at you, do you smile back? Why or why not? 2. If you were sitting on a park bench by yourself and someone sat down next to you, would you talk to them? Why or why not? 3. If you’re in a crowded bus where having your personal space invaded is unavoidable, how do you cope? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. If a stranger smiles at you, do you smile back? Why or why not? 2. If you were sitting on a park bench by yourself and someone sat down next to you, would you talk to them? Why or why not? 3. If you’re in a crowded bus where having your personal space invaded is unavoidable, how do you cope? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Editor's Notes

  1. Tara L. Lockhart, Charlottetown, PEI