For the past two years, I’ve shared Julian Treasure’s two powerful TED Talks about listening and speaking. I wish my PLC would watch them together and come to some understanding of how we can communicate to our full potential and then was reminded there is no magic wand or quick fix. And, we’re not broken either, just new and working out our particular personalities. But I can have my students watch them, gleaning the best advice he offers. All my students shared in an interest survey they would like quiet when reading or writing — heavy cognitive demands. And yet, those who talk continue to do so. Continue to interrupt, fill in the spaces of quiet, step on others thoughts. There are many reasons for this, which Treasure outlines in his ‘filters’ of listening bullet points.
But one word caught the ear of my third-period class, and it became a teachable moment for the rest of the day. When we lose credibility in our spoken word, one of the sins is being dogmatic. They said out loud, “What is that?!” and I told them I was so proud of them for stopping and asking. Fourth and fifth periods said nothing, going along until I stopped the film and asked them if they knew what that meant, and no, they did not. I said that is an example of metacognition, what third-period did showed they didn’t understand something and then wanted to find their way back.
And then I explained what it meant and we thought of examples.
I choose this word because that seems to be the current theme of the hour: many are dogmatic in their educational and political practices, speaking their opinions and not allowing any processing time. We all display times of dogmatism from time to time. All I can do is keep myself in check and weigh out passion from dogmatism, research and risk to capriciousness.
And we all could use some time to listen to each other more. Starting at third period, I timed a three-minute quiet break, where all they were asked to do was listen, and write down the noises/sounds they heard. They loved it. In this era of cacophony and mayhem, perhaps that is one gift I can offer more frequently– time in their own heads.