THEME OF THE WEEK: Active Listening
Dear Students, Families, and Teachers,
I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend. As we have all been spending several months with the same people, hopefully we are all bonding and enjoying this time together. At the same time, we are likely to be handling some challenges. We may have less tolerance for one another, we may be tuning people out, we may be spending more time on electronics, and we may be so used to being together that we may not be truly appreciating each other. This week’s Wednesday Wellness skill is whole body listening.
When we truly listen to another person, it can help us reconnect in a positive manner. It can also help us be more aware of our communication with each other. In school, students are often taught to use “whole body listening” which requires multiple parts of their body to be used when listening. Listening is actually a complicated skill that involves using more than just our ears. This visual is a way we can remind students to use whole body listening skills when on a virtual class meeting via Zoom or Google Meet or when talking with a friend or an adult
Active listening includes:
- Focusing your attention on the speaker. Let the person know that you are listening. How can you do this? (You can do this nonverbally by nodding and making eye contact. You can also show that you are focusing by not doing something else while the person is talking and by not interrupting.)
- Confirming what you are hearing. You can do this by repeating parts of what the person says or by summarizing what’s been said. You can also repeat or summarize silently to yourself.
- Responding to the speaker in some way to show that you have heard and understood what has been said. You might ask questions, make comments, or continue the conversation.
If it is not a good time to talk, due to someone being unavailable or busy, use a piece of paper to write down topics to be discussed later. This way important conversations are not lost. Interrupting and off-topics comments are already common but especially during this time, it may increase due to swirling thoughts and feelings. Gently point out the interruption and encourage the person to wait until the person is done talking.
This current way of life involves lots of distractions that interfere with the use of whole body listening. Be patient with yourself as you use this skill when talking with your friends, family, and teachers. Also, give positive feedback if someone is really listening to you by saying, “Thanks for listening to me.’
Please reach out if you need anything from any member of our school team. We are here to support you!
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