What keeps me excited about teaching is the challenge to do better day after day. I typically focus on a new challenge each day. Often one challenge builds upon another.
Today, on the first day of school, I want to begin to tackle a challenge that I've had throughout my career which is the challenge to foster a positive listening culture.
In classrooms with large numbers of students, it's difficult to create a culture where everyone is patient enough to listen to one another with respectful attention and thought. Today we'll talk about this as a group and create some protocols to help all of us meet this challenge.
I imagine the protocols will include the following:
- When someone is speaking, we stay silent and listen
- When someone is speaking, if we have an immediate thought, we can write it down so we don't forget.
- When someone is speaking, we don't raise our hands, but instead wait until they are done speaking.
- When speaking, we're considerate of time and audience. We try to use words carefully and not speak on and on and on. (This is for the teacher too :)
- We usually respond to the speaker by looking at the speaker, responding with respectful nonverbal gestures, and asking related questions or for clarification at the speaker's stopping points.
To create a culture of good listening helps everyone in the teaching/learning community to gain good skills that they can use in all areas of their lives. This is a positive challenge.