Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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19/1/14: learning to listen

Part of my previous job as an initial teacher trainer was to work with student teachers in trying to ensure that children were indeed listening when they were supposed to be doing so.  There are a number of tricks of the trade.  One is to make sure that the signals one is giving are entirely clear, it is remarkable how often beginning teachers will start to talk to the whole group and then drift into private conversation, leaving it unclear what the rest of the class is supposed to do.  Another is a politician's trick - ifspeakingforawhiletakebreathswhenitisobviousthatyoustillhave (HUHHHHH!!!) somethingtosayButkeeptalkingrightthroughendsofsentencesThatwayitisarealeffortof (HUHHH!!!!) thewilltointerrupt (hope this last bit makes sense, I'll upload a recording if not!)


Have to say, from the opposite poin of view,I find listening hard.  Number of reasons for this.  If I'm not careful I'm prone to drifting off in the middle of what people are saying, and then suddenly realise that, when I do try listening again, I don't understand because I've missed the crucial bit in the middle.  I'm also a bit prone, while other people are talking, rather than listening, instead to be planning what it is that I'm going to be saying next.  Dealing with a variety of accents, with fans, air conditioning units, sometimes back up generators, also add to making listening difficult.  I also have an intermittent hearing problem, not in evidence at the moment - but that can make things interesting as well!  Although - and maybe I shouldn't admit this on a public blog - l'm not above making out that my hearing is worse than it actually is to mask the fact that I've missed what's been said for other reasons.  Every cloud....

I have tried to train myself to listen better over the years, how successful I've been I'll leave other people to judge.  Of course, when somebody is telling you something, part of the art is to gauge why they are saying it.  Is this just casual conversation?  Or is the other person wanting to unload, with no substantive response needed - or helpful?  Or is the other person wanting some response?  From a Christian perspective, Colossians 3:17 is helpful, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  So, as we listen to other people, we are listening for Jesus.  May God help us all in this aspect of living for Him.

I have a visitor this coming week so hope between us we'll be able to take a few pictures.  Meanwhile, thank you for the ongoing contributions to the Joshua Appeal, Ii'll be closing this shortly, meanwhile, please do follow Pastor Ahmed's blog, recent news is not as positive as we might hope, let's continue to pray and uphold the family in our thoughts.

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