Link to What's New This Week Sneaky Strokes, "Good Dogs,' and Compliments

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Shared Reading, Sneaky Strokes

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: June 16, 2004
Latest Update: July 7, 2004

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Index of Topics on Site Sneaky Strokes, "Good Dogs,' and Compliments
by Author

  1. Introduction Why I chose to share this reading.
  2. Focus: Main point of this reading.
  3. Reading Full identification of source for reading AND excerpt.
  4. Concepts: Concepts and Key Words.
  5. Discussion Discussion questions.
  6. Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses What this has to do with our class.

* * *


  • I was curious to see what an elite school like Harvard offered its students in the area of multidisciplinary collaboration. Since transparency and collaboration are two of the focal points of our model of discourse, a project funded as collaboration might have something we want to share.


  • What single piece of information would you like people to come away with from this reading? Remember, one butterfly at a time.

Concepts and Key Words:

  • sneaky strokes - doing something nice, even if it was no big deal, so that you start the dialog moving in a good direction
  • transactional anlysis - bad strokes are better than no strokes - the need to be sure you exist
  • good dog - use of the term "good dog" following illocutionary discourse in which we acknowledge the extent to which we fail to compliment each other and resolve to try to remember to do so. We originally took the term from dog training classes in which the trainers emphasized how important it was to lavish praise on your dog.
  • dog letters - we're not paying attention to each other, so "walk on water" is the best we can do - generalizations that could be as true of my dog as they are of you.
  • cognitive dissonance, self esteem, and labelling - seeing the teacher or the student as adversarial


Discussion Questions:

  1. How often do you tell a teacher that a lecture or any small part of a lecture was fun, interesting, whatever?

  2. How often do we as teachers tell you that we enjoyed seeing the light in your eyes as you learned something?

    Things to be considered in answer.

  3. Do you think?

Conceptual Linking to Substantive Courses:

  • Agencies:
    Sample linking: Ways in which underlying assumptions of assimilation affect services offered and clients' ability to access and use those services. How does this reading illustrate the need for social agencies, for more generalized agencies, for what Bolman and Deal would call "leadership" AND "management"? How does this reading suggest ways in which we could be more effective in rendering help, and what is the reading's relationship to a "safety net" for those who need help?

  • Criminal Justice:
    Sample linking: Ways in which some groups are underrepresented in the unstated assumptions of our theories. How does this reading serve to illustrate adversarialism, mutuality, retribution, revenge, illocutionary understanding, the definition and operation of the criminal justice system?

  • Law:
    Sample linking: Extent to which laws are made on the assumption that we are all essentially assimilated to the dominant culture. How does this reading help us see the need for contextual readings in law? How does it relate to our natural instincts to seek some kind of natural law? What facts and principles does the reading offer for discourse that could clarify for Others validity claims presented by an Obscure Other?

  • Moot Court:
    Sample linking: Ways in which to make validty claims of harm understood by those who have never experienced many of the world's different perspectives. How can this reading enlighten our praxis in terms of different kinds of discourse, like instrumental, illocutionary, governance?

  • Women in Poverty:
    Sample linking: The culture of poverty and assimilation. How does the reading deal with our underlying assumptions about poverty, especially poverty of the exploited, the NOT- male? What does the reading suggest of the interrelationship between our society and its children, generally cared for by women, often poor?

  • Race, Gender, Class:
    Sample linking: The extent to which silence has been imposed by these affiliations so that domination and discrimination have entered our unstated assumptions in interpersonal relations and the structural context arising from them. What does the reading tell us about exploitation and alternative ways to deal with one another? What does it tell us about institutionalized -isms and our denial of complicity? What does it tell us about our common humanity?

  • Religion:
    Sample linking: The spiritual component. Humans are spiritual creatures, creatures that recognize moments that go beyond ourselves to God, Allah, Isis, Gaia, the Universe, or a deep sense of responsibility to create our own meanng. How does the reading fit into our ability, our need to create such meaning in life?

  • Love !A:
    Sample linking: What's the aesthetic link in this reading? How does it bring us closer to one another as humans? What does it tell us about our need for love, unconditional love, not rewards for doing well or being well, but caring and acceptance for being who we are?

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2004.
"Fair use" encouraged.