Are You Listening?

Do you listen to hear?  Or do you listen to speak?

Cognitive Coaching suggests that in order to be effective leaders/teachers/role models/coaches we must listen to hear and not to speak.

What is the difference?

People who listen to speak are usually only waiting for their opportunity to jump into the conversation.  They listen only as far as waiting for the moment when they can make the conversation about themselves.  Tell a story on a related topic, compare an experience to something being said, or voice an opinions.  Quite often people who “listen to speak” will walk away from a conversation and remember very little of what the other person actually said.

People who listen to hear devote their entire cognitive effort into truly listening to what the other person has said.  They do not offer opinions, they do not tell personal stories, and they do not off advice.  Instead, they paraphrase back what the speaker has said as a way of checking to see if they understand them correctly.  The entire conversation is focused around one person, the speaker.

So when dealing with parents, teachers, or students… you listen to hear?  Or are you listening to speak?


About Cherra-Lynne Olthof

I've been a middle school teacher for my entire career (which began in 2001). Like my students, I too am a life long learner. My goals include helping my students to achieve their goals, support them in their learning, and to encourage them to think "beyond the grade".
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