Twin Peaks Tuesday: Elevator Rules

This is not a speech blog, but I am a speech therapist. One of the many things that falls under my scope of practice is “pragmatics” or the functional and social use of language. I very often have to explicitly teach students “hidden social rules” or expected behaviors that most of us seem to learn without trying (like personal space, staying on topic, waiting your turn to talk, facing the person you’re listening to, etc). I usually start with a discussion about which way you face in an elevator. Did anyone ever tell you that, when you walk into an elevator, you’re supposed to turn around and face the door? Of course not- but how do you know to do it? It’s a “hidden” rule.

So I freaked out when Dougie got into an elevator for the first time during season 3 of Twin Peaks, facing the wrong way (and breaking some other social rules too). And then some genius edited 2 elevator scenes together for me and posted it on YouTube. They do say “damn” so I only play this for high schoolers- and even then, I either talk over that part or pause and skip over it. But it’s so much more effective than just talking about an elevator. And I get to watch Twin Peaks for work!

I’m always on the lookout for appropriate-for-school YouTube clips that involve people breaking social rules or using obvious non-verbal communication. I do a whole Elf unit around Christmas time. (The Dabbling Speechie has a blog post with links to several clips all in one place plus sample activities!) So finding a Twin Peaks clip to add to my collection was awesome.


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