Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cultural Sensitivity Training for Bulgarian Teachers: Results from an Observation Experiment

Hristina Sokolova

University of Ruse “Angel Kanchev”, Faculty of Business and Management

E-mail: hsokolova@uni-ruse.bg

Abstract: The articles presents training methods and results from an observation experiment in cultural sensitivity training of 39 Bulgarian teachers from a multi-ethnic secondary school in Vetovo, Ruse region. School children belong to 5 ethnic groups: Bulgarians, Bulgarian Christian Roma, Bulgarian Muslim Roma, Bulgarian Turks and Gagauz. The teachers were trained for 3 days in developing their cultural sensitivity, digital literacy and pedagogical competence. They were trained by 4 university professors and were divided into 4 groups of 10 people each, where each group had to switch training to go through all modules. The author’s module included developing cultural sensitivity among teachers of all ages. The training included 6 tasks employing the following pedagogical methods: role play, discussion, feedback and group work. The following skills were developed: team work, creative thinking, conflict reconciliation, negotiation skills, adaptability, cultural intelligence, cultural self-awareness. Teachers shared in the course briefing that they felt it was difficult to adapt and use newly developed cultural sensitivity skills in the classroom because of the bureaucratic requirements in their daily work routine. They also expressed concern about the cultural distance between them and their pupils, which could become an obstacle to applying the newly learned skills in the classroom.

Key words: cultural sensitivity, multicultural education, digital literacy, pedagogical competence, cultural intelligence.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 52, July 2022

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Virtual Matriarchy: Online Communities of Bulgarian Women

Eli Alexandrova

Имейл: alexandrova.eli@gmail.com

Abstract: The paper presents the results of a study on user-generated content in groups of Bulgarian mothers on the social media Facebook. Concepts of the characteristics of a hypothetical social system of matriarchy are examined in order to trace their applicability to the studied virtual environment. The transition from the BG-Mamma forum platform to Facebook groups as the preferred environment for interaction between mothers who dominate the Bulgarian online parental communities is analysed. The specifics of online communities are considered. The study identifies thematic categories of the publications in the studied groups and reaches its conclusions through the analysis of quantitative and qualitative indicators. It outlines the emerging trends in the contemporary social roles of Bulgarian women, without neglecting the limitation of the possible distinction between online identity and its offline characteristics. The theme of otherness is explored in the Bulgarian social and cultural context through an analysis of its manifestations in virtual space. The novelty in the study of otherness is also at the level of the role of Bulgarian mothers as parents and as participants in virtual groups, in which they present the topics of motherhood, fatherhood, health and upbringing of children. Otherness manifests itself at the verbal and visual level when presenting information and at the level of arguments when presenting positions and theses on these topics.

Keywords: matriarchy, social media, online communities, groups of mothers on social media, female social roles.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 50, January 2022

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Discussions Regarding Health Topics on the Internet – Conversational Medicine

Internet (and Virtual) Communication

 Daniela Tancheva

Medical University ,,Prof. Dr. P. Stoyanov“ – Varna

daniela_tancheva@abv.bg

Abstract: This paper examines the communication between non-specialists discussing health topics in online groups and forums. The main focus is on the manifestation of colloquial oral speech in combination with scientific topics and the use of terminology. The specifics of internet discussions about health as a part of computer-mediated communication (CMC) are examined. The motivation behind users’ decision to search for medical information online as well as the increasing interest in alternative treatments and the trend for self-healing are observed. The analysis demonstrates that online discussions about health have formed a specific socio-cultural environment in which users’ written language mirrors the spoken language used in their daily lives. It is found that users have mastered elements of the theoretical apparatus of their diseases and medical terminology seems increasingly familiar to them. The excessive amount of conversations about health on the web is a sign of the growing need for people to be informed and to be able to knowledgeably manage their own health, however, it also raises the question of the problematic communication between patients and doctors/medical specialists.

Keywords: health discussions, medical terminology, colloquial speech, internet/online communication.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 47, April 2021

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Communication Aspects and Dynamics of Conducting Group Therapy in Virtual Environments

Internet (and Virtual) Communication

Todor S. Simeonov

Institute of Rhetoric and Communication

E-mail: info@todorsimeonov.eu

Abstract: The article presents the results of a study based on autoethnographic research, in which the author participated during a university course in Group Therapy. Due to the extraordinary circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the training is conducted entirely in a virtual environment. The experiment is an exploration of experiencing group dynamics and therapy in a virtual environment. The focus of the research is the communication features and dynamics during this process and to what extent they differ from group work in a physical environment. The author’s personal experience is conveyed through the first-person narrative: a basic approach in autoethnography in which self-reflection is used to report included observation. Self-reflection as part of the autoethnographic study provides answers to the questions: Is a virtual environment a suitable communication environment for group therapy? What are the psychological dynamics of the group in a virtual environment? Important characteristics and qualities of the group facilitator leading such a group are presented. The hypothesis that the virtual environment is a suitable medium for group therapy and development of psychological dynamics and process is confirmed. Limitations, conclusions, and recommendations for future research are presented at the end of the study.

Keywords: virtual psychotherapy, group work in virtual environment, autoethnography, group dynamics.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 47, April 2021

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Pandemic of (Meta)Media

Media Communication

Simeon Vassilev

Sofia University „St. Kliment Ohridski”

E-mail: simeonvassilev@gmail.com

Abstract: The article advocates the need for a new genetic test aimed at modern media, which depends largely on the political, economic, and sociological implications for societies. The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 strongly affected the media ecosystem, and the infodemic with its morbid infoviruses, such as fake news, disinformation, and propaganda, is evidence of this. In this sense, the pandemic is a stress test for the media and a major challenge for media ecology. The assumption is that media impact in times of this unprecedented pandemic is of primary significance. The analysis aims to identify the factors for this impact; and it is important to establish whether it comes through metamedia, which control all media, or through the diversity of media and points of view that find a place in an accessible and free media environment. The terms “infodemia”, “infodemiology”, “metamedia”, “metaaudience”, “media ecosystem”, “democratic discourse” along with others have been introduced. A media analysis of publications presenting current events related to the COVID-19 pandemic on a national and international levels is made.

Keywords: media, metamedia, pandemic, globalization, digitalization, communication, media ecology.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 47, April 2021

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On inference, understanding and interpretation in visual argumentation: Challenges and problems

Rhetoric, Visual Rhetoric and Visual Argumentation

Igor Ž. Žagar

Educational Research Institute & University of Primorska, Slovenia

igor.zzagar@gmail.com

Abstract: For the past twenty years (or so) the field of argumentation has become more “flexible” and open to new approaches, to approaches that are not based merely on logic (of one form or another), nor even just on language. Visual argumentation started to develop in the nineties, and scientific literature flourished at the beginning of the new millennium (Groarke, Birdsell, Kjeldsen, Roque, Tseronis, …), in 1997 Michael Gilbert (Coalescent Argumentation) proposed four modes of argument (ation): logical, emotional, visceral (“physical”) and kisceral (“meta-physical”, “intuitive”), and about ten years ago, Christian Plantin published a large volume on the role of emotions in argumentation – “Les Bonnes raisons des émotions – Principes et méthode pour l’analyse de la parole émotionnée” (2011). This paper is concerned with understanding and interpretation in visual argumentation, more precisely, with its vague methodology and epistemology. Theoretical claims are supported by empirical findings, based on a questionnaire.

Keywords: visual argumentation, reasoning, understanding, interpretation, enchronic analysis, (re)constructed reality.

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The understanding of the human being and its relevance for persuasion

Rhetoric, Visual Rhetoric and Visual Argumentation

Rafael Jiménez Cataño

University of the Holy Cross, Rome

Email: jimenez@pusc.it

Abstract: The different ways of defining the human being or of perceiving human essence involve shifts of the persuasive power among the three persuasive appeals. Aristotle defined man as an “animal that has logos,” but for him logos is only one of the three appeals. Nowadays, there is a very widespread sensibility in favour of the strong weight of pathos, which is sometimes sentimentalism, but often, it is simply a response to a paradigm of humanity that takes emotion more into account, without replacing reason with emotion. This sensibility is noticeable in the current propensity to see “human” traits in non-human animals, not primarily in their intelligence, but in attitudes that resemble acts of care. This means that we recognize humanity in care. Philosophy of care places vulnerability at the same level as rationality in the definition of the human being and in the relationships that are created between people. This highlights how truly social – communitarian – the “knowledge society” could become.

Key words: human identity, care, argumentation, knowledge society, pathos, empathy.

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Andrea C. Valente

Andrea C. Valente, PhD (c), is a Course Director at York University, Canada, with focus on teaching rhetoric and composition, Canadian culture, and social studies to ESL undergraduates. She is an Applied Linguist and her main research is on rhetoric studies and on foreign language learning and teaching in higher education. Her doctoral dissertation is at the intersection of the humanities and neurosciences with the title, “The Vernacularization of the Neurosciences: A Case Study of Neuro-Autobiographies in the Age of Complexity”. Her research interests are in the fields of Academic Writing, Discourse Studies, Cross-Cultural Communication, Applied Linguistics. Same publications: Resilience and Well-Being Among International Students During Acculturation Process: Blogging Without Borders (2018), Online Advertisements of Personal Brain Wearables in the Everyday: Click Here, Learn More! (2017), Shaking, Spinning and Entangling under Complexity Theories: A Case Study in Digital Autobiographies (2017).

E-mail: valentac@yorku.ca