1. Michaels self awareness and perception process concerning his internal dialog when starting at the school was negative because he was the “fish out of water”. In regards to self-awareness, Michaels open self is a feeling of being lost or out of place. This was most likely due to being in a wealthy, prominently white society. Michael’s blind self awareness was his protective instincts. On the football field and in the car accident when he protected S.J. The person in specific whom recognized Michael’s ability to protect was Leigh Anne. Information that was hidden to others but known to Michael was his past, whether it being his mother being a drug addict, not having a bed growing up, Michaels peers was oblivious to his childhood situation. The most extreme self perception may have been the unknown.
Michael, nor his peers or Touhy family could have known the performance impact he could have on the football field athletically. When Michael first accepted his football scholarship, he’s overall emotions were very uneasy. Michael had a perception was that he was endured by the Touhy family simply to be breaded into a football player for Leigh Anne and her husband’s Alma Mater, The University of Mississippi. Psychologically, Michael’s thoughts were extremely distorted. Initially, after his feeling of pressure from the Touhy’s, Michael had gotten into a fight with kids from his old neighborhood, and was on the run. Leigh Anne’s persistence to find Michael eventually led to a meeting between the two, where they were able to talk and Michael was put at ease with Leigh Anne’s assurance that she would support any school decisions that he made. Perception Process:
Stimulation- Michael would doodle in class and not pay attention. However, one of his teachers acknowledges his selective attention and would not give up on him, as well as Mrs. Touhy. Michael was always encouraged to do well in school and football engaging his stimulation. Michael was constantly exposed to wealthy white kids with exposed him on a new level. Organization- Organization by rules had Mike as an outcast from the beginning, from his “big and tall-er”, his ethnicity in society and new family, and grungy altered cloths.
The proximity that surrounded Michael was his immediate environment, which in context was much more safe and positive. Interpretation Evaluation- Michael was interpreted throughout much of the movie as an outcast which was an uneducated, overgrown, black dummy by most of his peer and teachers. Memory- Mike had a stereotype of white people; the stereotype was that they were stuck up and not genuine. When the family took him in, his perception was reconstructed. Recall- By the end of the movie Mike was grateful for his new life and opportunities presented in front of him. Even after his doubts of the Touhy’s intentions for him, after he recalled their past generosities, he reconstructed his memory and what was truly meaningful for him.
2. The Blindside consisted of many conflicts for Mike. Whether it was cultural or gender, they would all relate back to interpersonal conflicts. A specific conflict would be his lack of self perception of his purpose for life. When Mike writes notes stating how dumb he is, and lacks motivation to find a home and chooses to sleep outside in the rain. Interpersonally, Mike was down in the dumps. A relationship conflict could be directed towards his mother. Mikes mom was a drug addict who lost all concern for him; this really affected his overall interpersonal self-esteem. Cultural conflict would have been his immediate environment in the new white civilization. This affected Mike because he did not fit in socially, appearance wise, educationally, nor financially. Mike did not have a huge conflict with his gender, but when he began playing football, he had a hard time using his aggression that a male naturally possesses. Mike was far too gentile to succeed at football in his beginning stages.
3. All throughout the movie it was tough for Big Mike to exercise his verbal communication, making it difficult for his peers and new family to identify who he was, or what he could excel at. A specific time in the movie when his non-verbal communication spoke words was when Michael and S.J. get in a car crash. After the incident, while S.J. loves the attention from the EMT’s, Leigh Anne and Mike are having a talk about the accident, and the possible outcome. Mike keeps extremely quiet as Mrs. Touhy explains how lucky S.J. is that he did not receive more injuries, and how the airbag was prevented from injuring S.J. Because Mike does not show her his arm early in the conversation it leaves Leigh Anne in confusion. When he was asked what happened to his arm, he simply replied with “I stopped it”. When the verbal dialog was used, immediately Mrs. Touhy had realized his natural protective instinct. From there, Leigh Anne knew Mike had the best interest of the family and their well being.
4. Different styles of listening applied to The Blindside. Non-Judgmental- When Leigh Anne went to lunch with her friends they were negatively talking about Mike, and the social outcast perception he has brought to their family. Although, she didn’t appreciate their comments, she understands that what she is doing is against their social norms. She was also able to maintain a critical response to all of her friend’s evaluations. Surfacing and Depth- When Mikes teacher was in the teacher break room, they were all conjugating on how dumb Big Mike was.
When his teacher decided to make a stand for him, she stated that although it seems he is not listening and not doing his homework, there is a reason for it. For reasoning, she pulled out a paper Mike wrote on, on the paper it stated that he does not understand, and he feels socially out of place. As opposed to the fellow teachers taking his note and wanting to address the issue, they decide to make comments such as “exactly, he’s not listening”, implying – Why are we wasting our time with him? The real message trying to be sent was that Big Mike needed guidance, but surface listening prevented the message from being portrayed. Active listening- When Michael first started playing football he was lost on the field and wasn’t sure what he was truly supposed to be enacting. Eventually, Mrs. Touty walked on the field and incorporated what the coach was trying to demonstrate by telling Michael who he was supposed to protect, how to properly block, and the intensity that needs to be applied.
After Mike actively listened and interpreted what she was saying, he was a monster and was blocking everyone to the ground. Empathy- Leigh Anne used empathetic listening with Big Mike throughout the movie. The most memorable part is when he is talking about his family history. Mrs. Touty really understood the impact it had on Michael’s life. She went to the extent to hunt down his mother to talk to her. Because of her empathetic listening she was able to enable Big Mikes to reach his full potential.
6. Styles of Leadership: The Traits Approach- In reference to the traits approach for leadership, in my eyes, S.J. demonstrated great leadership abilities to Mike. When Mike was lost and confused in the beginning of the movie, instead of shying away, S.J. talked to him and showed in the proper way to act, talk, and even dress. When Mike started to play football, he understood the need to address Mike’s physical shape and demanded that he began to train properly. The Functional Approach- Mike’s football coach tried to coach Mike the same as every other player without understanding that Mike was unique and needed to be approached and taught in a different manner.
When Mike was struggling understanding the concept of the game, the coach figured he was useless, but if he had taken another approach he would have understood earlier how much of an impact Mike could have. The Transformational Approach- The Blindside was based off Mrs. Touty ability to transform Mike from outcast to future role model. Every action she took was beneficial to Mike, whether it being coaching, offering tutoring, or providing housing- all had an effect on Mike’s self awareness and self-esteem. The Situational Approach- Between Mrs. Touty and Mike’s tutor, they had a task at hand to raise Mike’s accumulated GPA to a minimum 2.5. After hours of teaching and nourishing, the two were able to accommodate assisting him into a 2.52, making him eligible to play football for the institutions.