Investing in schools is investing in people
Establishing a new school needs highly motivated staff
Starting a new school is a massive task and needs the best staff possible; and they need to be highly motivated and capable of being actively supportive. Motivation and support skills are often taken for granted, at worst not considered at all and at best assumed to be natural in-built qualities of trained teachers and managers.
It is our contention that this a wrong and even dangerous assumption. It is far better to train staff in ways that enhance and develop the best motivational and supportive skills. Your staff then become a resource for motivation and support to help students to achieve their absolute best
We believe that the best way of doing this is to train the start-up team in Active Listening Skills.
Active Listening Skills
Being listened to in a focussed and skilled way is one of the best ways of motivating any one whether they are young or old. Nobody really likes being told what to do or what the answer is, but if they are helped to find their own answer, or at least their own way forward on a path that could well lead to an answer, the chances of them following their own advice is significantly greater than following someone else’s. And yet most of us whether teachers or in some other profession, can rarely resist the temptation to tell people, however politely, what they should do!
So what are Active Listening Skills? How do they differ from any other kind of listening?
Active or Motivational Listening begins, as you might imagine, with concentrated listening to what the other says regardless of one’s own views on what is being said. Gradually, by a number of different means the speaker is helped to clarify just what is the central question arising from what is being said. The speaker is then helped to find his/her way forward along the way of finding an answer to the central question and an action plan is developed – the speaker’s action plan, not the listeners. And that’s it. Simple! Yes but not easy!
What are the Advantages for an Active Listening School
Schools that commit to Active Listening reap many benefits. In summary:
- A much more motivated student population who achieve more than they would otherwise which, in effect, means better results across the school. This arises in two ways:
- Improved motivation brought about through being dealt with by staff in a very different and new way
- Academic tutoring and coaching using listening skills in focussed attention to the studies of the students as
- A termly arrangement with all students
- A specific set of sessions for individual students highlighted as needing additional support
- A more involved and motivated staff better able to support each other in ways unrealised before.
Peter Hudson is a Consilium Education consultant and the founder of the Motivated Learning Trust