Conscious listening tools:
- Access quiet-- at least five minutes a day.
- Spend time observing multiple channels of sound, differentiating.
- Savor mundane sounds, the hidden choir
- Play with the filters of listening positions-- active/passive, intentional/holistic, etc
- Receive, appreciate, summarize, ask: RASA
We cannot become conscious listeners until we can separate our expectations of what we would like to hear from what we are actually listening to. It is easier to revert to small data bits, to latch onto only those, rather than the whole piece of information. We must arrive at a point when we can look at the child, beyond the data. The child is not 'crying for attention'-- what message is the child trying to communicate?
It is important to remember that the work of listening is more than just physical listening. We can say, just a moment, but take special care not to forget that the child has something to communicate. How many times to we sit and observe in our own class, waiting for children to speak and listen to you?
Go down to their level. Look at their faces. Gesture openness in body language. Respect the time they need to find the words. Observe without judgment. The objective is to convey, "I am listening. I care."
Jeannot Jonte Boucher is a Montessori educator and parent in Dallas, Texas.