- Unproductive listening patterns include syndicate, memoir eavesdropping, and solution listening.
- A syndicate occurs when a person attempts to listen and work on a task that is different in nature from the conversation that is taking place.
- Memoir eavesdropping involves paying attention with the purpose of finding similarities within your own life, so you can interrupt the person and share your own experience.
- Solution listening prevents us from being able to concentrate and learn about the assistance a person is seeking from us.
- Improve listening patterns by centering on the here and now and monitoring your own feelings.
- The HURIER Behavioral Model of listening instruction outlines six interconnected mechanisms involved when we listen.
Have you ever been working carefully on multiple tasks when a parent, student, or colleague comes by to ask for your assistance? When this occurs, how do you respond? I hate to admit it, but more often than not, I tell the person to come on in. And I attempt to split my attention between the task I was working on and the person who needs me. Until I began researching the characteristics of active listening and listening patterns, I actually thought that I was doing it right.
According to Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience, research indicates that we only remember between 25%-50% of what we hear. If this is true, how can you be sure that the information you retain includes the most critical components? Could you be missing important information to guide and support parents, students, colleagues, or staff that need you? The ability to listen can have a strong impact, either positive or negative, on your job performance and relationships.
During a recently attended professional development session, Dr. Michael Murphy stated that active listening is comprised of three elements.
Centering on the here and now.
This step involves stopping what you are doing, taking a few deep breaths to clear your mind, and monitoring your own thoughts. This allows you to focus on what is being stated within those moments.
As we continue to do other things while listening, we embark upon the first of three unproductive listening patterns—syndicate. A syndicate occurs when a person attempts to listen and work on a task that is different in nature from the conversation that is taking place. While working on two different tasks, you are required to split both your attention and thoughts. This either means you will miss something that you need to include in the task you are working on, or you will not hear parts of the information that is being shared with you.What will you begin doing tomorrow to make sure that you are sincerely practicing the art of active listening when you interact with others? Click To Tweet
Observing outward & inwardly.
When people come to share with you, it is important to simultaneously master the art of keeping a pulse on your own feelings and reactions while also noticing the emotions and body language of the person speaking to you. Controlling your own feelings and reactions is an important component of active listening. When you are able to monitor your own feelings, you can truly focus on what someone is telling you and notice the emotions of the person in front of you.
One other thing to be aware of is to refrain from using memoir eavesdropping. Memoir eavesdropping is the second pattern of unproductive listening. It involves paying attention with the purpose of finding similarities within your own life, so you can interrupt the person and share your own experience. Often, this derails the conversation and makes the focus about you. This moves it in a totally different direction than the person intended.
Exhibiting inquisitiveness instead of conviction.
It is important to remember to refrain from passing judgment when practicing active listening. This is the third pattern of unproductive listening. Most of the time, people just want to be heard. When we practice solution listening, we are limiting our listening focus. This prevents us from being able to concentrate and learn about the assistance a person is seeking from us.[scroll down to keep reading]
As you reflect on your own ability to actively listen, consider this.
Lumen has a FREE course that offers three A’s—attention, attitude, adjustment—to ensure that you are not submissively listening. The course includes a profile to help you reflect on which of the six elements of listening from the HURIER model you want to strengthen.
The HURIER Behavioral Model of listening instruction was created by Judi Brownell in 1985. This model outlines six interconnected mechanisms involved when we listen. The skills involved when we listen are based on:
- Hearing: thinking about and pay attention to what is being heard.
- Understanding: grasping the precise meaning.
- Remembering: recollecting what you heard with the intention of giving a response.
- Interpreting: being compassionate to nonverbal and background facets.
- Evaluating: rational calculation of the significance of what was heard.
- Responding: choosing a suitable reaction to the message.
(Brownell, 1994, p. 19-21)
HURIER Listening Profile
If you are interested in learning how your listening skills measure up, you can access the profile here. When reviewing the results, think about your lowest listening skill. Consider the impact it has on your ability to evaluate, interpret, and understand what people are saying to you.
Now that you have learned about the six skills of active listening and the three pitfalls of unproductive listening, as an educator you have the unique opportunity to use this information to impact the lives of others. You can share this knowledge with colleagues, friends, and your students. Use it to increase your personal approach to active listening. Bryant Gill says that “one of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
What will you begin doing tomorrow to make sure that you are sincerely practicing the art of active listening when you interact with others?
Brownell, J. (1994). Teach Listening: Some Thoughts on behavioral approaches. The Bulletin. Retrieved on 11/21/2020 from http://www.communicationcache.com/uploads/1/0/8/8/10887248/teaching_listening_-_some_thoughts_on_behavioral_approaches.pdf
Dale, E. (1969) Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching, 3rd ed., New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Doyle, A. (2019). Types of Listening Skills. The Balance Careers. Retrieved on 11/21/2020 from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/types-of-listening-skills-with-examples-2063759
About Jami Fowler-White
Jami Fowler-White is the CEO of Digital PD 4 You, LLC. Over the past two decades, she has served in many capacities in education which include ten years as a classroom teacher, an Instructional Coach, and a Core Advocate with Achieve the Core. She currently mentors First-time and Renewal candidates for the National Board and is a charter member of the National Board Network of Minoritized Educators and Black Women Education Leaders, Incorporated.
Additionally, Mrs. Fowler-White is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and currently serves as an assistant principal in Shelby County Schools (TN). Fowler-White also provides professional development under the umbrella of the National Board and Digital PD 4 You for schools and districts.
She is the author/coauthor of several books including, Educator Reflection Tips, Volume #1, EduMatch’s Snapshots in Education 2020: Remote Learning Edition, The Skin You are In: Colorism in the Black Community, 2nd Edition, and Educator Reflection Tips, Volume II: Refining our Practice.
Jami blogs at DigitalPD4You.com , has a bi-monthly leadership blog on Insight Advance, and writes a monthly blog entitled the Better Mindset on TeachBetter.com She can be contacted via email at: email@example.com and invites you to connect with her on Twitter via @JjJj821