For the teacher:
This is a series of video mini lessons that focus on building, developing and nourishing our communities. Each lesson starts with a game and then proceeds to a step-by-step process for listening to one another that once taught well, can be used regularly for the following purposes:
- To deepen the connections between individuals in the group
- To strengthen the bonds of the whole group
- To process specific events or issues
- To create space for whatever processing people may need at any given time, whether they articulate it or not
- Individual and group problem solving
When the process is used regularly, participants have a method for expressing emotions and finding clarity, deepening relationships and feeling heard, seen and understood. The emotional health of all participants is strengthened along with individual capacity for building strong relationships. Using this successfully requires sticking to protocols and using it regularly, like any muscle that requires regular work-outs. Difficulties that arise can be reflected on using the same process. This will reinforce the use of the process for resolving difficulties and help the group learn to navigate challenges together.
As we all know, listening for a long period of time is a muscle that needs to be built, so ideally there would be capacity to practice in pairs or small groups. If, for whatever reason, partners or small groups are not possible, you will need to keep the turns short and intersperse games at different intervals. Don’t be tempted to have half the group share one day and the other half share another day. This process builds an intimacy that will feel different on different days and the most critical element is equity. Everyone needs the chance to share every time, even if the time is short. Thirty seconds can feel like a long time when you have a group’s undivided attention.
In addition, don’t forget to use your judgement about your group of students. Some of the games will work better with different age groups than others. You know your students and their group chemistry and what happens when they are asked to stretch past their comfort zones. My rule of thumb is to push slightly past where my comfort zone lies and see how it goes. More often than not, I am pleasantly surprised. But on those occasions when my prediction rings true, I need to be able to reel it in without losing the group.
- Touch blue
- Guess what this is
- Yes, let’s
- Play it again, Sam!
- Counting, How High
- I Am a Tree
Listening Exchange Teaching:
- Lesson 1: Good and Poor Listening
- Lesson 2: The value of equal turns, confidentiality, what to say/not say
- Lesson 3. Making space for emotions
- Lesson 4. Triggers, working with anger
- Lesson 5: Listening exchanges for the long run