Sunday, 26 May 2013

more thoughts on listening

Just been thinking about listening... again.

Sometimes I feel that there is so much focus on children expressing themselves that we are forgetting that we need to support their developing skill of listening.

If we are wanting children to grow up and to have the power to express their opinions we also need to ensure that we have children growing up able to listen to all these opinions. There is absolutely no point in giving children the power of voice if we are not giving the an equal measure of the power of listening...

I believe that children and adults will express themselves more if they know they have a respectful audience - it is through listening that we can encourage children to express themselves...

I am in the middle of doing a philosophy with children assignment that I will present with one of my colleagues on Wednesday. The more I look at the dialogues we have documented, look at the patterns look at the learning, look at their behaviour during the dialogue - the more I see the need to listen. The more I realise that listening is a fundamental skill that children have the right to - and that we NEED to scaffold in order to equip future generations with the power to speak and be heard - with the power to express their true opinions...
... and listening is not just hearing the words, but taking the time to understand them, taking the time to reflect upon them. taking the time to listen with respect so that your own ideas and opinions can expand.

In the Reggio Emilia Approach there is a great deal written about listening - that there is a Pedagogy of listening - check out my post The Art of Listening where I connect Reggio and listening...

...without listening a dialogue becomes merely a series of monologues with only the teacher listening... and this means we are supporting our children to rely on adults to listen... we are actually taking the power away from them... what happens when they are adults - who listens to them then?


Listening is by no means an easy skills - and maybe its something that children HAVE to train at.
We have a magical cone - whoever is holding the magical pine cone is the one that can speak - and the others are the ones that listen - its not easy (not even for adults) - and maybe if the adult needs to question the child in order to support the continuing dialogue, maybe there should be two magical pine cones... and eventually these cones are only possessed by the children who can not only express their opinions but also ask the questions to support the dialogue - the ability to ask questions requires that you are listening to be able to ask questions that CONTINUE the dialogue or extend it, or enrich it...

Hmmm - will return again to this next week - as I will share findings from the presentation...


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