Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Learning to Listen Better

interruptionIn 10 Ways to Listen More. Talk Less. Teach Well  from Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher, gives great suggestions on how to listen better. She also says,

“So often, people don't hear what you say because they're too busy formulating their own response. Let's focus on listening, especially to our students…Remember that sometimes your behavior shouts so loud people don't hear what you say. If you're talk about listening well and you don't do it yourself, you're a hypocrite and so am I. Let's be true to what we believe in our classrooms. Listen more. Talk Less. Teach Well.”

I have to confess that I am one of those people. For some reason, I am so worried about what I’m going to say and how people will receive it that I sometimes shut down. I focus on one thing that is said and I’m so busy thinking of my answer that I don’t hear the rest of the conversation. Sometimes I disagree so strongly that I want to object to each point separately. I don’t want to hear the rest of what is being said. Vickie gives some great suggestions for helping this. I thought I would add some more for my students.

Write notes. I have started writing down the points that the speaker is giving. Then when it is my turn to speak, I can address each of the points that were given.

I can also jot a word down to jog my memory about what I want to say later. Sometimes I interrupt because I’m afraid I won’t remember what I want to say later.

In a disagreement, it helps if each person gets to say all that they want to say without interruption. Then the next person should be given the same respect and opportunity. Once both parties have had their say, then they need to take turns responding. Some kind of manipulative to hold is a great signal as to which person has the floor.

I have attended a meeting where the person leading the discussion had a great way of running the meeting. During the discussion, each person could talk about one thing that pertains to a specific topic and every person in the group would be given this opportunity. After everyone has had a chance to speak, each person would be given another chance. This continues until all points have been discussed or time has run out. This really helps stop any interruptions or from people going off on a tangent.

How do you handle conversation interruptions? Do you do this and how do you stop yourself? How do you teach your students not to interrupt?

Image: 'The librarian warning'

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