You Can Hear Smiling

In Science Communication class on Wednesday, we did an activity in conveying tone. We read a blog post, The Monotillation of Traxoline, and had to narrate the first exercise expressing one of the following emotions: Bored, Excited, Secretive, Confused, Authoritative, Compassionate, Friendly, Serious, Humorous, Angry.

The passage:

It is very important that you learn about traxoline. Traxoline is a new form of zionter. It is monotilled in Ceristanna. The Ceristannians gristerlate large amounts of fevon and then bracter it to quasel traxoline. Traxoline may well be one of our most lukised snezlaus in the future because of our zionter lescelidge.

I chose to speak in an Angry tone and was actually surprised that some people did not guess what emotion I was trying to convey. I gave an exasperated sigh and raise my voice at certain points to accentuate my voice. Our professor said when you talk, your audience can often hear your enthusiasm and can even hear in your voice when you’re smiling.

But that’s not always true. The most interesting thing that happened during the activity was when one of my classmates tried to convey that she was speaking in an Excited tone, but a lot of people thought the emotion was Serious! We discussed that unless you personally know someone, you cannot always pick up from the way that they are speaking that they are excited, especially if people are typically more reserved. Since we also had to turn off our cameras when we were speaking, the activity also revealed how important body language is for giving people cues about how we feel.

We also talked about the actual goal of the blog post. It is a lesson on using jargon when communicating to others but also in teaching style. The paragraph above is followed by questions.

  1. What is traxoline?
  2. Where is traxoline monotilled?
  3. How is traxoline quaselled?
  4. Why is traxoline important?

It is clear that people can answer these questions easily. This shows that some people teach facts and expect a regurgitation, even though it does not necessarily make sense to the student, and this is not the most optimal way to teach. One particular quote I like from the blog post stressed, “Kids can go through the motions without ever engaging in any real learning.” We must make sure, as science communicators and educators, to use better methods.

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