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ERIC Number: ED497085
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Listening for Differences
Rogat, Marcia
National Middle School Association (NJ1), Middle Ground v9 n4 p12-14 Apr 2006
"Listening for differences" describes one simple method by which we might reach out to each other. No two people, after all, experience the world in exactly the same way, and we need to hear everyone's story in order to weave the entire tapestry of humanness. To cut someone short or to exclude someone is to leave a hole in the fabric of our understanding. When we can truly listen to another person without attacking him or defending ourselves, without arguing our own perspective in an effort to convince, and without judging the experience of the speaker, then we create a possibility for learning something new. When we can listen only with the pure intention of discovering how another person's experience is different from our own, then we are listening for differences. The author, a middle school counselor, describes how she helps students learn how to listen for differences to resolve tensions supportively. Children from all types of backgrounds long to hear the stories of others, perhaps intuitively knowing that our world depends upon multiple and diverse perspectives to heal and grow. Adults could learn much by their example. Middle school educators know that modeling is a very important teaching tool, and they can begin listening for differences in the faculty lounge, at committee meetings, and parent-teacher conferences. In the classroom, when teaching students the elements of debate and the persuasive essay, teachers should also consider whether they are providing tools for them to understand and empathize with another human being.
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Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A