2015 is quickly coming to an end, and yesterday, I noticed that Faige Meller — a retired educator and important part of my PLN — already selected her one word goal for 2016. This got me thinking about mine. Last year, my goal was to get uncomfortable, and as I indicated in this July reflection post, I spent a lot of time doing just that. In July, I started thinking about a new goal for the upcoming school year based on my change in grade (going back to Kindergarten) and teaching environment (sharing the classroom with a partner). I thought that it was time to focus on listening. Listening is definitely a big topic, and in my July post, I thought of many questions connected to listening for me to consider for the upcoming school year.
Sue Dunlop, one of our Board’s superintendents and an important part of my PLN, commented on my last post, and her final question makes me wonder now if maybe she knew something that I didn’t at the time.
There’s definitely a lot that we can focus on when it comes to listening, and I know that I need to work on all of the areas in my questions. By creating such a broad topic though, I really wonder if I’ve improved in any of the areas since September. There are times that I’m a better listener than others, but I still think that I interject too frequently, don’t take the time to truly understand various viewpoints, and forget about the importance of wait time. And so, as a new year approaches, Sue has me looking back at my answer to her question.
My updated word for 2015 is hearing. I’m going to focus on “active listening.” To do this, I need to …
- focus on the person talking.
- rephrase what the person says before adding my own thoughts.
- ask questions instead of just interjecting with opinions.
- let some things “happen” and see how they go. Then reflect together and see what we can do next.
- not be the first one to offer an opinion or solution: stand back, watch, wait, and listen.
What other ideas would you add to this list? I hope that others will also share their one word goals for 2016, and their reflections on their 2015 goals. How do you plan on meeting your new goal? I would love to know!