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LISTENING: AN IMPORTANT SKILL IN TEACHING
“Listening is the beginning of understanding.” So goes the saying on a radio advertisement that I heard during my younger years.
“People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is a quotation I’ve often heard as a member of our church.
Truly, listening is an important skill not only in life but also in teaching. Effective communication always plays a vital role in our chosen profession. Contrary to popular belief, a good teacher is not always someone who can deliver long lectures during the class. Most often than not, a good teacher is someone who takes the time to pause and listen to the students, frequently assessing their feelings and reactions to the lesson, and then makes the necessary adjustments for the future classes to achieve the desired results and help students improve.
Just think about it.
In one way or another, all of us have received both formal and informal training in other methods of communication. Since our elementary days and onwards, we have been taught to read and speak and write. However, how many of us can make the claim that we have been properly trained when it comes to listening?
I suppose not that many.
This is the main reason why it is important to learn the principles of emphatic listening. In his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey stressed the significance of seeking first “to understand, then to be understood.” He writes, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak.”
As future Special Education teachers, it is very necessary – even crucial – for us to reach the hearts of our future students. This cannot be done by lecture alone. This can only happen if we listen with love.
Jeffrey R. Holland, a prominent educator and leader in our Church believes the same thing. He once said “More important than speaking is listening. (Our students) are not lifeless objects… they are children of God.”
When we listen carefully, we understand people better. We will be more effective and we will be able to adapt our teaching to the needs and interest of our students.