2015 is quickly coming to an end, and yesterday, I noticed that Faige Meller — a retired educator and important part of my PLN — already selected her one word goal for 2016. This got me thinking about mine. Last year, my goal was to get uncomfortable, and as I indicated in this July reflection post, I spent a lot of time doing just that. In July, I started thinking about a new goal for the upcoming school year based on my change in grade (going back to Kindergarten) and teaching environment (sharing the classroom with a partner). I thought that it was time to focus on listening. Listening is definitely a big topic, and in my July post, I thought of many questions connected to listening for me to consider for the upcoming school year.
Sue Dunlop, one of our Board’s superintendents and an important part of my PLN, commented on my last post, and her final question makes me wonder now if maybe she knew something that I didn’t at the time.
There’s definitely a lot that we can focus on when it comes to listening, and I know that I need to work on all of the areas in my questions. By creating such a broad topic though, I really wonder if I’ve improved in any of the areas since September. There are times that I’m a better listener than others, but I still think that I interject too frequently, don’t take the time to truly understand various viewpoints, and forget about the importance of wait time. And so, as a new year approaches, Sue has me looking back at my answer to her question.
My updated word for 2015 is hearing. I’m going to focus on “active listening.” To do this, I need to …
- focus on the person talking.
- rephrase what the person says before adding my own thoughts.
- ask questions instead of just interjecting with opinions.
- let some things “happen” and see how they go. Then reflect together and see what we can do next.
- not be the first one to offer an opinion or solution: stand back, watch, wait, and listen.
What other ideas would you add to this list? I hope that others will also share their one word goals for 2016, and their reflections on their 2015 goals. How do you plan on meeting your new goal? I would love to know!
Hi Aviva, I think you have chosen an excellent word. We often get excited about our views or our ideas that we skip over what others have to say. If we listen, we create a synergy and our ideas blossom to something amazing. Sometimes I tell myself that in my head. I am getting better at giving my kids “waiting time” and I even tell the class why I am waiting. I’ll have to think about my one word and motto too. Thanks for always making think . . . Enzo
Thanks for the comment, Enzo! I love how you share with your class why you’re waiting. Are they better at giving each other waiting time then? I’ll admit that sometimes I’m better at this “waiting time” than others. I would love to hear your “one word goal.” It’s a great way to keep a focus for the year. It’s almost like a simplified Annual Learning Plan, and I like that! 🙂
They are understanding “waiting time.” I think I said something about some learners needing more time to think and we discussed that coming up with a quick answer is not a reflection of intelligence. The part of that is teaching them how to truly listen to others. Which I probably need to push more. I remember teaching “active listening” as a younger teacher but not really grasping its importance. I think that is part of the “soft or hidden curriculum” that teachers need to reinforce. We really have to take a step back from the demands. Get away from the checklist or to-do list . . . I think demands and to-dos often guide us away from listening. When we listen, we gather what is truly important and improve our practice.
I totally agree, Enzo! I think that really listening can also help us with determining “next steps.” When we talk about assessment for learning, we really need to listen in order to do this.
Oh, Aviva. I really like your thoughts on hearing, and especially the bit about not being the first to speak. I have my students working on wait time in a classroom context, but I’m inevitably the one who’s first to jump in in an adult learning context. Need so much to work on that.
Thanks for the comment, Lisa! While I’m not necessarily the first to jump in when in a large group context, I definitely am when talking or planning with small groups of people. If I want to get better at listening (and really hearing) others, I think that I need to wait for other people to share ideas, solutions, etc. first. I bet what they share will give me a new perspective (a good thing).