edu180atl: beth friese 2.1.12
This week, I’m analyzing data for a research study. Today I’ve spent hours reviewing audio interviews of middle school teachers sharing ideas about their school library media program…however, a surprising amount of my time was spent listening to myself interrupt these teachers, as I offered my own thoughts about the latest in youth literature, technology, or anything else I wanted to interject.
As I immersed myself in these recordings, I learned that I am not a good listener.
I believe that dialogue is important to create and share knowledge. But, time and again as I reviewed these recordings, I shook my head as I heard myself not just talk, but talk over the important ideas the participants wanted to share.
In the excitement of interviewing, I forgot my purpose: to learn and listen.
This was not dialogue. Instead, I heard myself wanting to display my own knowledge, often silencing teachers’ ideas.
I wonder, have I forgotten the art of listening? Much of my work involves talking: teaching, presenting, or other public displays of speech. Where are my public displays of listening?
Last Sunday, I had the unique pleasure of listening to Billy Collins read his poetry. He is stunningly observant. His poems are products of noticing and of listening to the world around him. I need to practice this noticing, this listening.
And in today’s participatory culture, listening is an active, valid, and necessary form of participation. Without thoughtful, generous listening to meet the speech, ideas are silenced, poems left unwritten, brilliant sparks stamped out too soon.
About the Author: Beth Friese is a PhD Candidate in Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. She studies literacy, learning, & libraries and tweets @librarybeth.