Learner Reflection & Practice
The material in this Section is dense. It requires an extension of our observational habits.
Take the time to observe and utilize each component separately.
Most of us are in our own heads, self-centric, going about our own business as we move through our environments and communicate. How does the understanding of these spatial navigation tools change the way you now plan to move through your environment?
Can you perceive adapting your Plane, Horizontal, or Level to communicate more clearly?
Throughout the course of one day observe how you use Plane. What does your use of Plane communicate in your forward and backward plane changes?
What changes in your use of Plane when you communicate and interact verbally?
On another day, take the time to observe the use of the prescribed Horizontal positioning in physical spaces. Think about how people are assembled or guided by architecture or seating arrangements. Many times we naturally counter in Horizontal movement and in our positioning to reach the edges of the audience.
Observe and identify other uses of Horizontals in your daily communications. As you make use of Horizontals remember that a step or two to one side or another on the same plane is a Horizontal movement in space. You will be surprised how often you make use of Horizontal naturally.
Next, observe your use of Level and the impact Level has on your daily in-person interactions.
Begin with observing how architecture or established cultural conventions use Level to set status or direct focus. Many of our communications are influenced by the various Level constructs in space. Courtrooms are a good example. The judge’s seat is placed higher than everyone else, even if the people in the room are standing. Another everyday use of Level is in the classroom. Classrooms are generally organized with students sitting and instructors standing.
Consider the implication Level has on the nature of a communicative exchange.
Try out either standing to draw focus in a room of seated people, or sitting to relinquish focus and grant it to someone else.
Track how often you are thinking about standing or sitting and why.
This exercise is best tried out on a stage, auditorium, or classroom, but all of the concepts will function in any sized space. At this time, for many of us that space may be a room or area in your home.
Write out on a 3X5 card or piece of paper, four to five statements or points drawn from presentation content. Alternatively, you may choose something you know about that you could teach or instruct an audience how to do.
Practice what you have written out loud five to six times. The goal is not to memorize, but be very familiar with your content.
This is an observation exercise.
As you are presenting out loud, try the different spatial configurations below. Observe your comfort, thought inclinations, and any challenges in communicating. Pay attention to what happens to you when you shift positioning, even though your content is the same.
You may or may not have any unique observations that cause an “aha” moment. Practicing these different configurations is also meant to get you comfortable with using the tools.
Place a chair center stage, or in the center of the room, and sit in it. Imagine you are full front at the front of an audience and deliver out loud to the imaginary audience the content you prepared. You can read off the card or paper. Practice about a minute of the content.
Next, place a chair along the same plane to the far left Horizontal of the room you are practicing in. Sit and repeat your delivery to an imaginary audience. Observe how you orient in the chair.
Place the chair back in the center, AND move it back on the furthest Plane possible in the room in which you are practicing. Repeat your delivery to an imaginary audience on this plane.
Observe if your Orientation is steady or if you are inclined to shift. Observe your breath as you speak. Is it easier to breathe diaphragmatically? To gesture? To think more clearly?
Remove the chair and then stand on the original plane you started on in this exercise.
Present standing from the far right Horizontal position. Repeat delivery to an imaginary audience. Observe any changes in breath, gesture, and thought flow. Do you want to change your Orientation?
Return to the center, stand on the farthest plane away from the audience and repeat delivery to an imaginary audience once more. Again, observe any changes in breath, gesture, and thought patterns. Do you want to change your Orientation?
Identify which configuration was most comfortable and which configuration was uncomfortable.
Think about how the configuration influenced your shift in Orientation.
If you shifted naturally while you spoke, how did that added layer of Orientation shift impact various spatial configurations?
This exercise begins to help you to identify your natural behavior as you navigate space while we are communicating out loud.
We gain agency over how we use space by understanding how, when, and why we might shift our orientations to create meaning by our use of space. In this study, you will learn how Intentions and Outcomes are factors that influence the optimal place for you to be in space.
You can also practice using navigational tools during your interactions in the classroom, lab environment, common areas and in the virtual environment. You will begin to notice how you and others shift orientation based on not only the space itself, but the convention or function that the space is designed for.