One of the things l love most about my instructional delivery class is that just about everything we learn is learned by having us teach it or experience it hands-on in some way.
This past week, Elizabeth taught us about the barriers to effective listening and the three Vs’ (verbal communication, visual communication, and vocal communication) impact on the believability of one’s message. She could have just told us this stuff, but instead she divided the class into four groups of two and had us each develop a five-minute lesson to each each part.
I was partnered with my friend Jennifer the zany hairstylist. We were assigned to teach the barriers to listening. We decided to do a skit demonstrating the many stupid things a teacher can do to make it hard for a student to listen. It was fun. I got to say “fuck” in class as part of the lesson. And it was a good lesson. All the lessons were good. After all, we developed them ourselves.
Just about every week, Elizabeth ensures we are active participants in our own learning. It never feels like she is lecturing, which makes me extremely conscious of my own teaching style. How much time do I actually spend talking versus listening? I know that I cut off my students’ answers far too often and I have to get more comfortable with silence. I keep trying to hurry the lesson along and that’s good for nobody.
This week I vow to work on shutting up. Shut…up…and…listen, Frank!