“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”
― Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings
Extroverts dominate my class roster this year. They are always ready to make their choices and thoughts known! I have no trouble hearing them, but I must make a conscious decision to listen.
The social conversations of my class twist and turn like the tracks of a roller coaster. This class also seems to enjoy arguing (different from debating). I redirect topics, invite individuals to rocking chair heart-to-hearts, and shuffle seats. As I've contemplated my OneWord--LISTEN--, I've taken closer notice of facial expressions and body language as children enter the classroom, learning to "hear" what they are saying with their entire beings. I ask how their day has gone thus far and I am prepared to adjust my plan based on the answers. No breakfast? I'll probably move up our morning snack. Overslept? We'll begin our circle with a calming read-aloud. Fighting with siblings in the carpool to school? Hhmmm...I pray for peace.
This commitment to listening benefits the introverts as well. I can more quickly see their discomfort and frustration with noise levels or chaos. As a result, I'm moving furniture to create more quiet spaces, opportunities to work in pairs. Are you listening more in 2013? Do you have a OneWord? Let me know how your month is unfolding!