Habit #3 – Listen With Understanding and Empathy
“It is important for students to learn to devote their mental energies to another person and demonstrate their understanding of and empathy for an idea by paraphrasing it accurately.”
A chaotic morning routine for a Grade 1 teacher entails students parading into the classroom with a variety of emotions. Happy, anxious, unprepared, tired, still in weekend mode, you never know what you are going get. This is true for so many classes and teachers.
At this point the teacher needs to model the act of listening with understanding and empathy for all children within the group. By focussing on paraphrasing and understanding the frustrated child’s thoughts and emotions, the adult needs to let him know that they understand those feelings.
As educators, our goal is to provide our boys with effective ways of learning and thinking. We strive to create opportunities to help them grow and develop strategic habits for their academic success. Listening with understanding and empathy is a habit that extends far beyond the classroom. Children are more likely to display this behaviour if we cultivate an empathetic classroom and home environment. In doing so, we create a space where it is possible to work through frustration by giving them the tools to learn how to work through it themselves.
The best tool to help us practice listening for understanding is active listening. This is an everyday learning and it occurs during play and at meal-times or listening to a great story. We are all held accountable too, and it makes an incredible difference to play, problem solving and building relationships.
Brigitte Theunissen / Deputy Head Academics