Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Awesome Act of Paying Attention - For Teachers


I read this on Tom Peters' weblog today.  www.tompeters.com

  "To be in the present with someone is a gift. The gift of attention is perhaps the most precious and envied of all. ...
"Think of someone who, while you are talking to him, is looking elsewhere, mentioning a subject that is irrelevant to what you are saying. Inattention has a disruptive, depressing aspect, which saps our vitality and robs us of our self-confidence."
From: The Power of Kindness, by Piero Ferrucci.
Message: Pay attention to the way you pay attention today/this week.
Consider: "Paying attention" is "the most precious gift."
Follow-up: Talk explicitly about the act of and power of paying attention. It is not only a "gift," but it is a "tool" that pays enormous practical dividends.

It made me think of the kids I've been working with in a public school in Brooklyn. I've asked myself over and over who has EVER listened to these kids.  More to the point.  How can we rearrange schools, NOW, so that teachers are doing more listening, more paying attention, and less talking at kids?  Kids of all ages.  The great teachers are great listeners, not great lecturers.  It's the first step in helping kids practice creativity.  They'll create for an audience that listens.

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