Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Listening But Not Hearing

In Unpacking our educators’ belief systems from  Dangerously Irrelevant, dr.scott.mcleod@gmail.com (Scott McLeod) shares,

“…when we’re having conversations or working with educators in professional learning settings, what we say to them may not be what they hear.”

This is true in many conversations I have with others and it makes me realize that I need to encourage further conversation if I am concerned that the other person is not understanding what I’m saying.

Many times, I complain that my husband doesn’t listen to me but this makes me realize that he is probably listening but not really hearing what I’m saying. I’ve learned when we talk that I need to be clear about my wants and expectations and not expect him to be a mind reader. I need to do the same with my students. I shouldn’t assume that they understand what I’m asking or explaining.

A good way to do that in my classroom is to ask my students if they agree and why or why not. Asking them to explain their answer shows me if they are really understanding me. It is easy to say yes or no or give a thumbs up and thumbs down, but do they really know or just guessing? Are they just giving me an answer they think I want to hear?

I think understanding also depends on the perspective that another person has. Sometimes during the conversation, they show me how my words can be perceived in a different way that I never had thought of.

I tend to be egocentric when I talk, and I need to be more aware of the different perspectives that others may have. In order to do this, I need to ask questions and encourage conversation.

I also need to teach my students to do the same thing. Many students get frustrated with adults because they feel that they are not being heard. Maybe they are right. Maybe adults are listening but not really hearing them. Rather than getting frustrated and mad, we teach them a better way of being heard. Encourage them to work harder at deeper conversations.

By doing this, I am helping them have more successful personal and professional relationships.

What tips would you give students to help them be heard? Please share.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

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