Are YOU HEARING...or Just Listening?


For several years, I have been disenchanted with a marked decrease in listening skills. I attribute many of the challenges to an ever growing set of distracters...namely the cell phone. Truly, the CELL phone, is one of the greatest distracters educators have had to face in the classroom. But this is NOT just about in the classroom, it is in every walk of life.


One day in church, I realized that people sit there and politely listen to the pastor, but do not hear. They TRY, but they are distracted, and they have not learned how to be a good listener.


The same is true for many of us in every capacity. It isn't so much that we aren't listening well, it is that we aren't actively listening which is writing down things that we is the mark of learning and a step toward remembering.


I first started to put my thoughts together on this early last week and looked up some listening tips. I found this page a good starting point:


I liked the reference that 70% of our time we are communicating, and 45% of that time, we are listening.


Of the Principles of Listening listed, there are a few that are more important than the others. And there is ONE that is not listed that is more important than the rest.


I realize that in the school environment, many of you all don't want to be here. Try to put yourself in a position later in life where you REALLY do want to learn what is being offered. If your average high school class was talking about how to win a gambling, or how to beat the lottery, you would want to learn that right? Learning to listen in high school is just as important. You will not just grow up one day and be able to listen. Truth be told, many high school students are too hyper active. Personally, I was ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) growing up. Fortunately, I learned to work around the challenge, yet am still challenged with being able to focus in some distracting environments. The cold reality is that some of you all will just have to grow out it.


Loker's Top 5 Tips for HEARING...and not just Listening: The following is adapted from the above referenced page.

  1. Prepare to Listen - Stop talking, remove distractions. Don't doodle, shuffle papers, day dream, etc. Avoid sending negatives with your body language.

  2. Focus on the speaker - Keep your eyes on the presenter. This puts the speaker at ease, and helps to focus your attention on what is being said. Can you imagine standing in front of an audience, and a large number of people are doing something else, talking to each other, playing on their phones, etc.?

  3. Empathize - Try to understand where the speaker is coming from. What are they TRYING to tell you? Put your self in their shoes. What would it be like if you were up doing the presenting? Are you an asset? Or a liability?

  4. Avoid Personal Prejudice - you may not like the speaker, or have difficulty understanding and/or are frustrated by mannerisms. But, you CAN focus on what is important.

  5. WRITE SOMETHING DOWN WITH EVERYTHING YOU DO! Find a Nugget - Listen for the domino effect. You may be BORED out of your GOURD! But, even in the WORST of situations, you can FIND a golden nugget.

The main thing is to be ACTIVELY listening by writing stuff down that you hear.