My inquiry class is going quite well this semester. The skills that this class has picked up quickly and use regularly include
– Re-voicing and paraphrasing what others are saying
– Asking questions about others’ ideas to get more information
– Asking questions to make sure we understand each others’ ideas
– Summarizing, comparing, contrasting different ideas that have been said
– Telling someone if/when their ideas make sense (even if one don’t necessarily agree), and why it makes sense.
– Talking to each other for extended periods of time (without looking at me).
– Using tone of voice / eye contact to indicate interest, care, and humility (rather than dismissal, indifference, and righteousness)
– Posing honest questions and making honest statements
– Using tone and body language that communicates that everyone is free to change their mind
Part of this reminds me that “being” a good listener and “being” engaged consist of things you actually do. But I’m also reminded of just how easy it is for everyone to do these things when everyone feels the right way–feeling safe and having a sense of belonging. Of course I know that there’s feedback between feelings and behavior: the students feel the way they do because of they way we are all behaving, but we are also behaving these ways because of the way we feel. It’s mutually reinforcing. And, of course, when these feedback loops are going the right way, it seems easy, like how could it be any other way. But I know that other times, when the feedback loops are going the wrong way, it can seem impossible. Cherish the good times.