The Power of Listening

Listening to people has proved to be an essential tool for me. As the leader of a group I have felt the need to develop a good ear ( This is absolutly paradoxical if I consider my hearing problem!!) I absolutly think that listening  to my colleagues is, apart from reflection, another interesting way to grow.
Listening to my partners seems to have a double benefit. On the one hand everyone needs to be heard and understood,it is in this way that we get to know each other. I think that teachers should feel that their opinions are respected  and considered regardless of whether we end up agreeing or not.I have always tried to build this kind of working community. Teachers know they can come up to me and express their thoughts, put forward whatever they consider reasonably. I am convinced that having this possibility may motivate them to suggest some new ideas and projects, and at the same time it may help them develop a sense of belonging.
On the other hand, considering what people say, gives me a broader view. Sometimes I may think or believe that certain things should be on one way and reality in the classroom may show something different, teachers are the ones that can account for this.
 I listen.
 I also have the need to be listened to.This is not easy for everyone, and I feel that for some people this is a hard job! Sometimes it is difficult to listen,to reflect on what is being said and what is more, to be open-minded enough so as to change your mind and say: You may be right.
I would like to work with people who are good listeners and make the effort to see the world through the eyes of others, people who can reflect , people who can show capacity for empathy. People who can learn a lot from listening...

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
Kenneth A. Wells


  1. Vivi, what a personal and interesting reflection you've written!! Besides I really like the captions that you include. I strongly agree in the fact that listening is crucial to work as a team. It's also true that listening is a synonym of respect and caring: in my case I feel good and valued when colleges listen to me and specially when you can come to a conclusion together or you can help each other.
    It's also true that not many people are good listeners and this is a challenge we have to deal with in the classroom every day. It's very important to teach kids the values of turn taking, listening attentively and tolerance. I can perceive that many kids are lacking these values which are crucial for fostering empathy.

  2. Ani, I haven't considered the power of listening in relation to children in my reflection, but you are right!
    It is crucial to work explicitly on this skill in the lesson if we want to help them become good listeners in the future.I wonder... Do you develop this skill in your lessons? Are your sts aware of the importance of being listened to and at the same time of the importance of being good listeners? what an enticing issue!

    1. Ani, thanks for being part of my reflection process!

  3. Vivi:
    I agree on the fact that listening is a crucial skill in life. How can we learn if we do not listen to others? Parents, friends, teachers, our students (as Any said), and everybody who gets to be part of our life, one way or another.
    However, sometimes we need to have our OWN experiences and make our decisions in order to learn from our mistakes. What is really important is to be able to REFLECT upon them, no matter how little these mistakes might be for us, and say "Well, maybe I was mistaken, and the other person was right. I've learnt from this experience!"
    Being open minded is essential, as you said, but we have to be aware of the fact that sometimes people may not be ready to listen to what we are saying! The important thing is to never give up and try to persuade them by being good listeners ourselves and find the best way so as to "win the heart" of these people.
    Well, I'm getting tooooo phylosophical for friday morning! Your post has really turned into food for thought!
    Let's go on reflecting face to face!!

  4. Ceci, It is true that some people may no be ready to listen to what we have to tell them today but they may be ready in some time!However, I am mainly refering to listening as an atittude,to be open enough to condider what the other person is telling you.

  5. Vivi:
    Sorry about my spelling mistake! philosophy! hehe
    I totally agree with you on the importance of being open minded and ready to really LISTEN to what other people tell us. That's what I intended to say with my prev. post. I strongly believe that we all have a lot to learn from the ones around us. For me, trying to stand in other people's shoes and trying to see things from a different point of view is one of the best ways to reflect upon my own beliefs and attitudes as well.
    I always try to be ready to take in others' opinions, suggestions, advice or comments. I think we can learn a lot from these opportunities. I hope it shows at work!

  6. Vivi, Ceci and Ani too!
    I want to say many things in relation to this post.
    First of all, I´ve always said (and most of my partners nowadays can prove it) that in this school I generally feel listened to, heard, cared for since I´ve always felt I have the place and space to do whatever I want without restrictions. Helping Sakura is an example, Green Helping Hands is another. Blogs and the use of netbooks too. I even wrote a "long" mail to Silvia and Ale regarding computers and I was given an answer. This doesn´t mean that from time to time I speak to a wall or that I behave like a wall when I´m spoken to in certain issues. I used to be called "Zapata: si no la gana, la empata" when I worked in Firestone!!
    I´m generally stubborn and difficult to convince, and regarding my students, I think I have the last word since I am the one who spend 3 hs daily and know them pretty well. Yet, it doesn´t mean I won´t accept suggestions and advice! But it all depends on the way it is given and how I am prepared to receive it. Being listening a "receptive" skill, the sender needs to produce a message for a listener to "receive". And sometimes there are messages that we are nor ready/willing to receive! This post of yours reminded me of many concepts from NLP (SUPER useful for our moment now!)
    * First of all "The map is not the territory" What I perceive to be a well framed, peaceful message might be received as an "attack". So we need to be careful with what we say to who.
    * Second "The meaning of my communication is the response I get" which means that he should face responsibility if we are not heard as we would like to or if we are misinterpreted (as it happened with some of my "mothers" in my class, I´m reflecting upon it). The way we express and share our needs will have a strong influence on the type of responses we will get from others!
    * Third, "all behaviour has a positive intention" which means that if somebody is not listening to you in a certain issue, it might serve a purpose to him/her. It doesn´t mean the person is against you in that topic, we need to analyse the situation deeply to see how beneficial it is for that person not listening to you.
    * And finally, "everyone makes the best choice available to them at the time" which means that for a certain reason we don´t know, the best option is not listening to you. Again, it doesn´t need to be personal or against you in particular, sometimes it´s unconscious, some others it represents a clash of values, assumptions or ideas.

    Even though we are adults we need special treatment just like kids need. If there is something in particular you feel I´m not listening to you, I would like you to come and tell me: Look Daiana, you are not listening to what I say, I want you to do this this and this. And I will try hard to do it, if it´s not against my believes. But I think I need you to make it clear, explicit, almost shout at me. Otherwise, I feel I´m listening to you pretty well...

    Am I clear? I don´t know If I expressed myself clearly...we can talk it over personally. I believe an NLP course is essential for every teacher!

  7. Dai, Thanks for your comment. Of course I agree on the fact that teachers are the ones who have the knowledge, experience and the right to take decisions in the classroom, however, it is true that heads are the "heads"of the groups, consequently if there is any comment made, it should be considered; even though teachers are the ones in contact with sts for 3 hours. This happens to all of us when we interact with some one who doesn't have a symetric position to ours.
    Now talking about our reality, I am afraid I have always been respectul and tactful at the moment of giving my opinion! I do not have the style of a head who imposes her view, on the contrary I am contemplative. The points you highlight are very interesting and it shows me another perspective of the situation. But I still think that for some people listening, considering, what other person is saying is really hard, and this does not refer to a message in particular,this is a way of being, some people are definitly more open minded than others and this is clearly seen. At least I can see it clearly.
    The moment I decided to write about the power of listening,it was not in relation to anything in particular but, to this difference I am finding in people's reactions at the moment of considering what other person is saying.
    Of course we are all different, but having a good ear helps each of us grow and learn from the rest, in this case our collegues.