Listening project

The purpose of the “Listening Project” is to build connection, foster communication and understanding between members of the campus community, increase (multi)cultural competence, and increase communication skills needed in all career platforms.

Students and faculty across campus have implemented a variety of classroom activities that rely on listening and invite sharing. Whether participants stand in various campus locations with signs that read “Free Listening” (in a pre-pandemic world) or break up in small groups in virtual classrooms, students open their ears – and hearts – to anyone who needs to talk, laugh, cry, scream, or hang out.

Listening Icebreaker

By Adina Schneeweis

Screenshot of jamboard activity; lots of text covers the slide, see blog post for context

A brief class activity to break the ice on the first day of class. In JRN 3290, Dr. Adina Schneeweis facilitated an exercise that included asking someone you just met (as in a first day of class context) a question that is meaningful to oneself. Students asked about trust, religion, adulthood, role models, and family, and reported having a great experience – digging in with someone you don’t know about something meaningful elevated the connection of the emerging class community right away.

Listen for the Gold for Teachers

By Dawn Woods

Listening is key to effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are misunderstood and communication breaks down. In fact, listening is a skill that we work at over our lifetime.

Listening is also a particularly salient aspect of the work that teachers do when creating social justice classrooms grounded in the lives and experiences of students (e.g., Golden & Christensen, 2008). Through listening, teachers connect with students whose lives and experiences may be different than their own (Bintliff, 2017).

In order to explore the act of listening, teacher candidates in my Winter 2021 sections of Teaching Mathematics at the Elementary and Middle Level were asked to “Listen for the Gold” based on a reading from the book, Listen Like a Storyteller: A Guidebook on Attention and Finding the Truth in the Narrative Age (McCann, 2019). During this exercise teacher candidates found a few moments when working with their students to close their eyes to focus on hearing, enjoying, and to listen for the gold. As they noticed and wondered about what they heard, teacher candidates honed their listening skills by attending to the stories of their students. This exercise resulted in narratives about what they heard as they listened and how it connected to their work as teachers. Click here for Samantha’s, Alexandra’s, Rachel’s, Sarah’s, Megan’s, and Lexie’s reflections.

If you are interested in trying out a listening project in your classroom or community event, get in touch. There are as many ways to listen (and coordinate a project) as stories out there, waiting to be heard.