communication assignment 4

This week we discussed how some nonverbal codes/rules/conventions/norms are culturally bound. Think about what nonverbal codes/rules/conventions/norms you ascribe to. For example, in the U.S., it is “code” that when you walk into an elevator (with other people riding in the elevator), our “rule” is to not make eye contact with anyone, immediately turn so that we are facing the door, and either push the button for our designated floor or ask for the floor button to be pushed by the person closest to the button panel. We then ride in silence.

Now, imagine that you decide to break this “code”, so instead, you walk into the elevator and face the people in the elevator. You smile, make eye contact and start a conversation. How might people react to this? How might you feel as you break this code? This behavior is an example of “breaking” a nonverbal code/rule/convention/norm.

For this week’s challenge, you will go out and break a nonverbal code/rule/convention/norm (and pay attention, take notes!). Please don’t do anything illegal but really challenge yourself (i.e. not with your family, friends, roommates, etc.). Obviously, don’t use the elevator example I provided (you will not receive credit if you use this example or the other examples provided in the lecture/reading). Please review the challenge prompt closely before engaging in the activity so that you may know what to focus on for your write-up.

Challenge Prompt:

  • Where are you? Who are you with? Who is around? Is it busy or quiet?
  • What code/rule/convention/norm are you breaking? How do you know it is a code? Is this a cultural code? If so, what culture does it ascribe to?
  • How do you feel before, during, and after breaking the code?

After breaking the nonverbal code/rule/convention/norm, make note of the following:

  • What reaction(s), if any, did you receive from those who “experienced” your code-breaking?
  • What, if anything, was most surprising to you about this experience?

Now, in addition to answering these questions, please be sure to provide a description and/or some context of the situation. Complete your challenge write-up by answering the challenge prompt with an organized essay response (i.e. introduction, main points, conclusion) rather than simply just answering the questions. Be sure your response is thorough and connects to the learning materials (please see rubric for grading details).

Responses should be:

  • about 1 to 2-pages, single-spaced (quality is more important than quantity), PDF or Word Document submission
  • Times New Roman font (12 or 11), with 1-inch margins all around
  • no header is necessary (i.e. name, challenge #, class, etc.) since Canvas records all of this for you
  • INCLUDE a PICTURE of you in the situation (before, during, or after) or a picture of the person/people you surprised with the code-breaking (you may explain you were engaged in a class assignment), or a picture of something that symbolizes the culture or code you broke – Help? How to insert pictures to Word document. HERE.


Challenge Rubric

Challenge Rubric

Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeGrading1) COMPLETELY addresses prompts in the assignment description.

2) Includes EXPLICIT references to course content.

3) Describes IN DETAIL lessons learned from the experience, citing specific experiences, and proposes specific suggestions to improve the experience or their performance in the future.

4) Writing is well organized and CLEAR (easy to read/understand).

5.0 pts


Prompt fully addressed, explicit and appropriate references to course content, well-detailed lesson description(s), writing is organized and clear.

4.0 pts


Missing one element or one element is not fully developed.

3.0 pts

Almost There

Missing two elements or two elements not fully developed.

2.0 pts

Needs Improvement

Missing three elements or three elements are not fully developed.

5.0 pts

Total Points: 5.0

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