Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Am I Listening?

listenIn Public Service Announcement from Barn on the Web - Daily Happenings, RJ talks about someone he heard about who was killed by a train because he had earbuds in his ears while jogging and didn’t hear the train. He mentions,

“Have you ever taken the same route all the time and you get so used to it you say I can drive it with my eyes closed?  Well, when you jog, walk or run you normally take the same route and you get that used to the dogs, traffic and trains that  you can actually NOT hear it.”

What a sad story! It reminds me how sometimes when I read or I get involved in a project, I tend to tune everything else out. I stop listening to what is going on around me and that is without having anything in my ears. I ignore all of the sounds, words, conversations that happening and may be important.

I wonder if that happens in the classroom too. I get so used to the usual classroom noises that I tend to tune them out. I know that certain students can be whiny and others can be needy, so I stop responding to them. I stop listening to the conversations that they are having with one another. Or I can be so involved in the lesson that I’m teaching, I don’t hear the unasked questions that are visible on their faces. I don’t hear them because I stopped listening.

I can learn a lot about what is going on in their lives but listening to the conversations that they are having with each others. Sometimes it is easier for them to share what is going in their lives with their peers than with an adult. I found out that one of my student’s parents were going through and ugly divorce which explained about the angry behavior I was seeing. Another student was worried that she might be pregnant and I was able to talk to her privately after class and get her some help. I also heard of some trouble between a couple of students that might happen and was able to head it off so no one got in trouble with the school.

I can learn a lot by “listening” to their body language. I can see that they are bored or confused and may be tuning me out. I need to find ways to get them to engage in the lesson. They might not know what questions to ask in order to get a better understanding of what I’m saying. I may need to stop and explore what they don’t understand.

I need to stop ignoring all of the sounds around me and actually start listening. It may be important and I don’t want to miss an opportunity like this.

Do you do this in the classroom? Are you listening? How do you pay attention? Please share.

Image: 'listen to me...'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/46766162@N00/41713155
Found on flickrcc.net

3 comments:

Candace Bundren said...

I made an instant connection to what you were saying about "not listening". I noticed it after I had my twins and was getting very good at tuning noises out so I could get rest once in awhile. Well, my ability to tune sound out was also effecting my teaching. I noticed that there would be days I could go without having conversations with certain students. After this reflection I started looking more critically at my own teaching and listening in the classroom. I made a strong effort to talk to each of my students daily, morning meetings became more social so I could learn more about my students, their lives and what effects them as learners. This is my 11th year teaching and my second year co-teaching with both our special education teachers. I feel more connected to my students because I make the conscious effort to listen and not "tune" them out. Because of this effort they know I care and adore them and want to be involved in their lives. Plus, I get more out of them with their work, homework, cooperation with each other, and small group learning. It was extremely nice to see other teachers have fallen victim to the tuning out of their students or classroom noises. So thank you.

Candace Bundren said...

I made an instant connection to what you were saying about "not listening". I noticed it after I had my twins and was getting very good at tuning noises out so I could get rest once in awhile. Well, my ability to tune sound out was also effecting my teaching. I noticed that there would be days I could go without having conversations with certain students. After this reflection I started looking more critically at my own teaching and listening in the classroom. I made a strong effort to talk to each of my students daily, morning meetings became more social so I could learn more about my students, their lives and what effects them as learners. This is my 11th year teaching and my second year co-teaching with both our special education teachers. I feel more connected to my students because I make the conscious effort to listen and not "tune" them out. Because of this effort they know I care and adore them and want to be involved in their lives. Plus, I get more out of them with their work, homework, cooperation with each other, and small group learning. It was extremely nice to see other teachers have fallen victim to the tuning out of their students or classroom noises. So thank you.

Pat Hensley said...

@Candace What a great story! I'm so glad you talked about before and after and how listening affected your teaching. Thank you so much for sharing this!