Video for interpersonal communication

For an interpersonal communication class that has family communication as a topic or uses the Margaret Mead research on child-rearing, a great video is “Bill Cosby: Himself” — a stand-up routine from 1983.

In the latter part of the video, Cosby focuses specifically on family issues. As part of this, he describes children as “brain-damaged” and how they should behave versus how they do behave. Some of the material sounds a bit harsh to contemporary ears, but there is enough material there that you can edit to choose just a few segments.

I presented this to my class on the day we discussed the Mead material as another way people viewed children and to make the point that even within the U.S. there are variations.

Then on the exam over that unit, I referenced the video and asked students to explain which view from Mead’s article that Cosby’s description best matches and to justify their choice. It made a great test question to see what they got from the Mead article.

There are several portions of the video available at YouTube, the above is just one that is available.


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About teachingpublicspeaking

I believe public speaking can go from most dreaded class to favorite class. I'm a former public speaking college instructor who spent years seeking out activities, assignments and examples to make the class interactive as well as educational -- they are collected here. I welcome suggestions for additions.

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