Engaging our Online Community

In addition to email and a communication schedule, the use of online utilities provides a virtual community where Peer Mentors can connect with one another, other students, and Mentees.

Starting in May, Peer Mentors are encouraged to engage our new students online through the Facebook group, myOCADU Students.­­

  • Introduce yourself as an upper-year student and a Peer Mentor.
  • Welcome, answer questions and correct misinformation.
  • Direct students to appropriate resources.
  • Encourage participation in the Student Mentor Program as a Mentee!

GOALS OF ENGAGEMENT
The primary goals of engaging our online community are:

  • To create a hub of information, interaction and engagement.
  • To provide a student-friendly environment allowing new students to connect to the community in a positive/non-threatening manner.
  • To support and encourage Peer Mentors by providing an easy communication tool to connect with each other and Student Mentees.
  • To assist, by providing information that is timely, relevant and presented in a way that allows for feedback, response, or input.
  • To provide insight to prospective students who are eager to learn
    about life as an OCAD U student.
  • To provide parents/family with insight into student life at OCAD U.

PRINCIPLES & CONDUCT
Please keep the following principles in mind when conducting yourself and engaging with our online community. They have been developed based on some of the principles of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use (http://csriu.org) which state:

  • What you say/do reflects on you.
  • Those are real people out there.
  • Play by the rules.
  • Keep it private.
  • Do not pollute.
  • Remain cool under fire.
  • Read with your eyes open.
  • Respect the creator—credit the source.

FACEBOOK
Many OCAD University students use Facebook to connect and interact with their friends and peers, and to get to know other people on campus.

  • ‘Page’ members do not have to become ‘friends’ with each other.
  • Individual privacy levels can be maintained and are your responsibility.
  • Friendship requests should be accepted at your own discretion.
  • Mentor/Mentee assignment is NOT necessarily based on Facebook interaction, but a student signing up as a Mentee may ask for you to be assigned to them if they join the program.

TOPICS & IDEAS
Here are a few ideas that can be posted to the group ‘wall’ in Facebook:

  • Events/activities that help students in and out of the classroom.
  • Reviews or photos from Student Mentor Program or OCAD U events.
  • Start an art, design dialogue, or answer questions already asked.
  • Information about student-run groups/clubs.
  • Student strategies or tips.

DOs & DON’Ts
When you post online, you are engaging in a very public conversation.
Be respectful of your intended and unintended audience: students; their family and friends; prospective students from all over the globe; faculty, staff, donors, partners; and public.

Be mindful that you could be held personally accountable for your comments. Respect privacy and feelings:

  • Be respectful of copyright laws and appropriately credit sources.
  • Do not use obscene, inflammatory, threatening, or disrespectful language, or engage in behaviour that might be considered insulting or harassing.
  • Show consideration for topics that might be considered controversial.
  • It is acceptable to be critical if it is done in a professional manner and backed up with well-thought-out reasons.
  • Express your opinions and ideas, but do not use the Facebook page for commercial purposes or political lobbying.
  • Do not knowingly or recklessly post false or defamatory information about OCAD U or any member of the OCAD U community.
  • Strive to provide high-quality content that reflects the goals of the
    Student Mentor Program.

What is Intersectionality?

As seen during in-person support and training day Anti-oppression discussion:

Commissioned and Produced:
Professor Peter Hopkins, Newcastle University – ncl.ac.uk/gps/staff/profile/peterhopkins.html

Design, Animation & Sound Design:
Stacy Bias – portfolio.stacybias.net

Music:
Courtesy Kai Engel and licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial License freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/Caeli/Kai_Engel_-_caeli_-_05_machinery_1506

Special Thanks: to Newcastle University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Fund for providing funds to support the production of this video and to Kelechi Dibie and Vijaya Kotur for their advice and support.

Active Listening

Adapted from Conflict Resolution Services, St. Stephen’s Community House, Toronto

The ability to listen is an important skill in interpersonal communication, improving personal relationships by reducing conflict, strengthening cooperation, and fostering understanding.

WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?
Active listening is a structured way of listening and responding to others by focusing attention on the speaker. Suspending your own frame of reference and suspending judgment are important to fully attend to the speaker.
___

Demonstrate active listening though:

I. ENCOURAGING PHRASES

Why?
To show interest; to encourage the speaker to keep talking.

How:
Do not agree or disagree; use neutral words; vary your tone
of voice; use body language. Nod your head; face the speaker.

Examples:
“Can you tell me more about it?”
“What happened next?”
“Uh-huh.”

II. CLARIFYING PHRASES

Why?
To help you understand what the speaker says; get more information.

How:
Ask questions so that the speaker can help you understand.

Examples:
“When did this happen?”
“Can you help me picture the situation?”

III. RESTATING, PARAPHRASING

Why?
To show that you are listening and understanding what is being said; to check your interpretation of what you have heard to make sure you do understand correctly.

How:
Using your own words, state briefly what the other person has said.

Examples:
“So, as you see it, I was being unfair when I gave you that assignment?”
“If I understand you correctly, you want your roommate to take a greater share in doing the housework?”

IV. REFLECTIVE PHRASING

Why?
To show that you understand how the speaker FEELS; to help the speaker evaluate their own feelings after hearing them expressed
by someone else.

How?
Identify the speaker’s emotion.

Examples:
“This situation has made you very angry.”
“You felt humiliated when you were criticized in front of your peers.”

V. SUMMARIZING

Why?
To review progress; to pull important ideas, facts, and feelings together; to establish a basis for further discussion.

How:
Restate the major ideas that have been expressed, including
the feelings.

Examples:
“You’re stressed and exhausted because you’re being kept awake most nights by loud music from next door. When you tried to ask for a couple of days off, your supervisor seemed angry, and that has made tense. Is that a fair summary of what you’ve said so far?”

VI. VALIDATING

Why?
To acknowledge the worthiness of the speaker; to show respect without necessarily agreeing with what the speaker says.

How:
Recognize the value to the speaker of their issues and feelings; show appreciation for their efforts and actions.

Examples:
“I know it has taken a lot of courage for you to speak to me about this.”
“You take a lot of pride in your ability and skills.”
“Thank you for spending the time we needed to work this out.”
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BARRIERS TO CONSIDER
When interacting, people may be distracted, thinking about other things, or thinking about what they are going to say next, and are often not listening attentively to one another.

The listener’s personal interpretation will also play a role.
These barriers should be considered.

Rules for Good Listening

Adapted from “Human Resources in Business”

STOP TALKING
You cannot listen if you are talking.

PUT THE TALKER AT EASE
Help them feel that they are free to talk.
This is called permissive environment.

SHOW THEM THAT YOU WANT TO LISTEN
Look and act interested. Do not read, or do anything else while they talk.
Listen to understand, rather than to respond.

REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
Do not doodle, tap or shuffle papers. Would it be quieter if you shut the door?
Give full attention.

EMPATHIZE
Try to put yourself in their shoes so you can see their point of view.

BE PATIENT
Do not start for the door or walk away.
Allow plenty of time and do not interrupt.

HOLD YOUR TEMPER
An angry person gets the wrong meaning from words.

GO EASY ON ARGUMENT AND CRITICISM
This puts the talker on the defensive.

ASK QUESTIONS
This encourages them to talk and shows you are listening.

STOP TALKING
This is the FIRST and LAST rule for good listening because all others depend on it. It is not possible to do a good job listening while you are talking.

A gentle reminder:
Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, but one tongue—to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.” ~ Socrates

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are how people relate to one another.

Successful Peer Mentors/student leaders develop good interpersonal skills:

  • The ability to balance one’s own emotions and opinions while
    relating to others, and a genuine interest in developing a shared understanding where each of you has accurate information about the other’s ideas and suggestions, feelings, intentions, emotional responses and assumptions.

Effective interpersonal communication include the following skills:

RECEPTION SKILLS
A structured way of active listening and responding to others by
focusing attention on the speaker:

  • Listen, be encouraging, and clarify (check that you understand by restating or paraphrasing). Show concern for the person and their feelings, summarize and validate.

TRANSMISSION SKILLS
Transmit information (speak/share information) without accusation or judgement.
Suspend your own frame of reference and judgment to fully attend to the speaker:

  • Describe actions/details without generalizing about motives or attitudes. E.g. “Bob has done most of the talking and the rest of us have said very little”, rather than “Bob likes to hog the spotlight”.

Identify feelings by conveying information about your inner state and not as an accusation. E.g. “I felt hurt when you ignored my comment”, rather than “You’re rude“. “I am disappointed that you forgot”, rather than “You don’t care about me”.