Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ah, But the Listening

Today's just been one of those days. You know the type. The kind of day you find yourself saying: "It's only Tuesday, huh?" The kind of day that makes me question your effectiveness, purpose, and resolve.

Why? One reason: listening.

Or, perhaps a better way to put it: an absolute lack of listening.

The thing is, we are doing so many cool things in class; using so many 21st-century tools; utilizing best practices methods in teaching and delivery. But at the end of the day, if students are not listening - like, at all - there are still going to be frustrations, setbacks, and dozens of unnecessary questions.

I really enjoy my students and classes this year. It has been a great group to work with, and being able to say that with 176 students is a blessing. On most days, teaching them has been a pleasure. Even with days like today, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.

Writing this today is not my way into hypothesizing about why students can have some bad listening days, or why some students seem to be serial offenders in this category. There are many different variables that lead to this, and in many ways, I'm able - like many teachers - to work through and around these issues to still effectively reach our goals. No, today I'm simply marveling how much impact listening, good or bad, continues to have on learning, daily life, work, relationships, etc.

So while 21st-century learning, practices, technologies and tools are incredibly important, I sometimes just need my students to apply the skill that's been around since the time of their ancestors...


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