The Fourth Characteristic of Highly Effective Educators - Modeling Active Listening

{Some teachers just seem to have it all together – their classroom is always organized, their students are always so well-behaved, and their positive attitude seems positively unshakeable. At times you might wonder,

Why does it seem that some educators are more successful at developing a well-managed classroom? Do these teachers have a certain set of characteristics that automatically set them apart when walking into a classroom?

When it comes to creating an engaging learning environment and a well-managed classroom, there are six characteristics that highly effective educators share... }

Modeling Active Listening for Effective Classroom Management
Photo © 2005 Wonderlane, Flickr

Effective educators model active listening. Thoughts move about 4 times as fast as speech. This means that as your student tells you about his weekend, the score of his basketball game and the awesome pizza party afterward, you've effectively rehearsed the first four points of morning meeting in your head, reminded yourself to look for a dry erase marker that has not dried out, and wondered if the rumble in your belly will be satiated by the {now cold} coffee that sits on your desk.

That might sound a bit fantastical, but you get the picture.

In an ever changing classroom environment where “busy” is your middle name, it's easy to feel scattered and fall into superficial listening mode where, for all intents and purposes, you're hearing what your students have to say, but aren't really processing and offering feedback. Not only does superficial listening make it difficult to truly invest in your students' lives, effectively squelching any attempt at developing a sense of community, it can also make you less adept at picking up on and helping to resolve any problems students may be having within the learning environment – both with the curriculum and with other classmates.

It's also worth mentioning that by modeling active listening, your students are presented with a clear demonstration of an important skill needed for effective learning and communicating - both in and outside of the classroom.

Educators who practice active listening in the classroom succeed in creating an environment that communicates the importance of each student, encourages the sharing of ideas, and develops skills that translate beyond the classroom.