Saturday, September 26, 2015

Taking Each Other Seriously: Multiple Viewpoints

A friend told me a story about how words fell on deaf ears, no one listened to the need, rationale, description--discounted from the start.

I know this person and I know that the effort described is well rooted in good teaching/learning research and result. I wondered why the person's words were dismissed without any consideration. Did preconceptions about the individual's skill, experience, mindset, interests, or presentation play a role?

This incident made me think about times that I may have dismissed another's point of view, perspective, or ideas. We have all done that from time to time for multiple reasons, but that doesn't make it right.

What's right is to entertain every point of view with care and consideration. To really think about what others have to say particularly those with less voice, power, or acceptance for often their viewpoints lend us the greatest sensitivity, humanity, and originality.

We have to take each other seriously without judgement; to listen with an open mind. That's an initial step towards building strong teaching/learning communities of invested, empowered, and engaged learners and educators.

As you think of your teaching/learning organization, who listens and who doesn't; whose viewpoints are perceived as acceptable and whose voices are typically ignored; and when do you listen well and when do you listen less? These are all good questions to consider as we move forward in our work and efforts to teach students well.