Communication is surely one of the most vital skills that will help our students succeed in the adult world. This is exactly why we have a class called, Conflict Resolution. It is specifically dedicated to the art of communication in a way that will allow our students to have more of a chance in the professional world and within their personal relationships. This class is taught by our Habilitation Specialist Enhanced/Teacher Emily Padula who has a plethora of credentials at her young age. Emily studied art therapy at Plattsburgh College followed by serving as a research assistant during the rest of her college education at the University of Albany where she studied psychology and art. Emily has served as a research assistant during her college career at UAlbany and has even been an intern at the Capital District Psychiatric Center. She has been with the College Experience since August and says, “I’m loving it. I value education and am thrilled to be able to help students succeed in life through the power of learning! I have already seen so much grown in the students since last fall and I can’t wait to continue watching them prosper.” Emily also teaches Health & Wellness, Fitness, Decision Making, Digital Citizenship, Finance Lab, Cooking, and Acting. Wow!!

Emily recently taught the students in Conflict Resolution about passive-aggressive communication, which is arguably the most complicated form of communication. She explained, “People who are passive-aggressive may get subtle revenge instead of opening expressing their feelings. They instead get back at someone in a way that is sneaky. Emily showed the students a movie clip of the 1996 film, “Fargo” in which the character played by William H. Macy evades questions from an investigator in a way that is not overly polite nor too rude when being confronted about a crime that took place at his car dealership. Some examples of passive-aggressive actions would be dragging one’s feet on a project on purpose or making vague accusations such as, “you know exactly what you did.”

It was also explained that the devastating impact of a pattern of passive-aggressive communication means that these individuals:

  • Become alienated from those around them.
  • Remain stuck in a position of powerlessness.
  • Ignore resentment with real issues that are never addressed so they can’t mature.
  • Bother the people in their lives.
  • End up having extreme reactions later on.
  • Friends and family think they are not genuine or honest.

Tips on how to deal with emotions were brought to the attention of the students. Dogs may help us calm down because some people find comfort in their pets considering that petting them is comforting and helps them calm down. If pets are not the students’ thing, there are plenty of other options such as music because there are so many different options when it comes to music. Being around nature and that outdoor, healing environment is also therapeutic instead of lingering in a dark room either literally or metaphorically speaking. Taking a walk and getting exercise certainly makes a difference especially when we are hurt by toxic relationships from other people. We cannot always control what happens to us and the actions of others. We can, however, work within ourselves to make us feel better when pushing through anguish! And speaking of being outside in nature, the day this photograph was captured was a beautiful April day that is a harbinger of many more gorgeous days to follow! We all decided to leave class for a few minutes to indulge in the beginning of springtime!

We look forward to the additional lessons taught by Emily as well as what the students continue to contribute throughout the rest of the semester!