Those that have been to our live events know that our main dream and vision is to change the education system in the world to a one that would be empowering children to fulfill their potential and not of one that is focused on teaching them facts and figures.
One of my favorite movies on a teacher that I would love to have in this type of school is the one for the movie Freedom Writers. The teacher in the movie demonstrates one of the most important qualities that every leader should have and it is – Listening.
In the movie the teacher, Hilary Swank, realizes that she has no clue about her students’ world and, therefore, instead of teaching by speaking to them and coming from the all knowing position of authority, she realizes that if she wants to help those kids to learn and grow she will need to do it in a different way than the “old school methods”.
She realize, she needs, first of all, to listen not only to the words they are saying but also to what they are NOTsaying and most of all to what is in their heart.
In the old way of schooling a teacher’s job was to educate the kids. This meant that the teacher knowledge was more significant and much more valuable than what the child had. That meant that all the teacher had to do, was to speak and the child had to listen and do what is told. This is the command and control way, which is the old way.
In the movie we see how she realizes that there is no way those kids will ever truly listen to her and that instead she needs to listen to them. Listen from her heart not from her head. Only once she was willing to truly listen to what they had to tell her could she find a way to create trust with them, which allowed her to teach them.
Truly listening to another person demands a lot of courage, as you will need to let go of your ideas about the subject and the topic. It demands attention, care and most of all respect to the other. All those qualities come together when you listen.
Usually when people think about great communicators they think about people who could speak eloquently, persuasively and with confidence and intelligence. All this is true but it is only a limiting way of looking at communication. It is a one-way street.
When it comes to human relationships the most important part of communication is listening. That would be the Feminine Leadership way of communicating. Maybe that’s why we have one mouth and two ears so we can listen better, which proves that the important part in the communication is listening.
Teachers are not, usually, great listeners. They are too busy and self important in trying to get across their message and deliver the material they need to teach to actually remember that at the end of the day the most important person is not them, but the child.
What the teacher, in this movie, did by listening to the kids was to change her concept about what is her job as a teacher from educating them to guiding them how they can fulfill their potential. By listening to them she found a way where they started believing in themselves, started regaining faith in human spirit, and most of all, they trusted themselves and to see how amazingly special each one of them is.
My favorite scene in the movie is when she brings them to realize that although they think they are different than one another, that although they feel that they are the only ones that suffered and paid price, they are basically all the same under all the exterior of the outside and the fact they look different or speak different languages they are still all connected.
In order for this to take place she draws a line on the floor and each time she asks a question those that can relate to it need to stand on the line. This creates a meeting point for them, but it demands them to listen. Each time they meet on the line they communicate to each other – we share the same experience. This demanded from them – listening. The result was a life changing moment for those kids.
This could not have been achieved if she would have spoken logically and rational from her head. This could only be achieved because they were willing to listen and share from their hearts.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Listening from your heart can save you those thousands words!
Now I’m curious….
How do you make sure you are listening ?
Share with us in, the comment box below, your tips for better listening skills?
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