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Posts Tagged ‘listening

I am adopting a different strategy in 2017.

Despite telling people that I do not work for free and revising my Contact page to remind people of this, I still get messages along these lines.

I am going to ignore them.

I used to reply promptly to every query or message because that seemed to be the right thing to do. That may be, but it is not the good thing to do in the long run. This does not change the behaviours of suitors and I cannot live off good will.

If I get a sense that the agencies that approach me will not change their ways, I will ignore their approaches politely. By this I mean that I will not reply with a firm tone or a scathing response. No news is good news.

Might such a move burn bridges even before they are built? It might.

Will doing this not teach such people a valuable lesson? Not really. Not when they are not looking to be taught such a lesson.

I have given far too much time, spent way too much effort, and been burnt too many times. So my approach will be to speak loudly with silence.

Those reflective enough and willing enough to change will wonder why, and start a different line of conversation. I may ignore, but I am still listening.

It is Friday. Time for something light.

The semester I declare war on giving talks is the semester I am invited to give the most number of talks.

In addition to two conference presentations, a couple of consulting gigs, a handful of professional development and pro bono sessions, I have also volunteered to share Leading by Listening and Learning over Lunch.

Here is the title slide.

pedagogy of the oppressed by d-q, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  d-q 

Recently I read what initially seemed like two contrasting articles:

The first article by The Chronicle seemed to paint Michael Wesch, edu Web 2.0 guru and creator of this now famous YouTube video, as backtracking on a more distributed and learner-centred form of instruction because Wesch learnt a thing or two from a colleague who was an accomplished “lecturer”.

The second article by Mind/Shift, said quite the opposite: Don’t lecture students.

I think both are sides of the same coin. It is not about putting the technology first; it is about the pedagogy. It is about making connections with people and content. It is about the passion for teaching and expressing the love for learning. It is about putting instructional strategies before technological know-how.

But there is something even more important than pedagogy and that is understanding how people learn and leveraging on that. If they learn in the presence of a more informed other, how does the latter reach for the former? There are also circumstances when we learn without a teacher. How do we learn then and how do instructors create the same circumstances to promote that kind of learning?

To use the examples on both articles, most lectures do not work because the lecturer is talking to an audience (who might not be listening) or talking down to it. On the other hand, a few lectures work because they are storytelling sessions, sales pitches, or talking-withs. To talk with someone requires the talker to listen first, to understand where the listener is at, and to relate to the difficulties s/he is having.

This is brain science (and some of my colleagues will call it the learning sciences). It is not rocket science. It is about listening first, not talking first. If you listen hard enough, your learners will tell you how best they learn. And today, those means are mediated or enabled by technology.

i hear by estherase, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  estherase 

One bad and good thing about taking public transport is that you get to hear people talk.

It’s bad because some people talk really loudly or there are some things you would rather not hear. It can be good if what you hear is an informal but useful source of data.

I hear a range of things from student teachers: Complaints about tutors, not understanding what a tutor said, recording lectures on the sly and playing the recordings back at leisure, what they might do after they leave teaching, etc.

I like to tell whoever bother to listens to me to just take the bus for a month and they will get more honest feedback than they can handle. You don’t even have to try to listen. People are practically screaming to be heard.

It makes me wonder if this is a valid data collection strategy…

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