The Role of Genuine Listening in Communication

Author: Judy Yauch
June 15, 2016

Formative assessments are gaining a lot of traction, and for good reason. However, according to a recent Educational Leadership article by John Hattie, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey, unless we teach students how to listen, they will not have the skills to benefit from our feedback.tutor-606091_1920

I couldn’t agree more. Listening is an essential communication skill. If we can learn how to see things from another person’s point of view before sharing our own, a whole new world of understanding opens up to us. Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood focuses on genuine listening. Genuine listening is:

  • Listening with our ears, eyes, and heart.
  • Standing in the other person’s shoes.
  • Practicing mirroring.

A kindergarten teacher mentioned in the article saw the skill gap. He felt that his students could benefit from learning listening skills, so he started with a conversation station where he would ask individual students a question they could easily answer. Next, he would “mirror” back what he heard, sometimes purposely making errors so they could discuss how to improve his listening skills. Once his students learned how to listen, he turned his questions to their work. Although young, these students are learning to hear the feedback that will improve their learning.

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