Most educators I’ve met, like to talk. They enjoy getting in front of people and sharing their knowledge. Talk and share knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. That usually means we are better speakers than we are listeners.
This creates a problem. Effective communication requires both the ability to speak but even more importantly the ability to listen. We spend much more time listening than we do speaking. Therefore, we must learn to listen and listen well.
You will have the opportunity to create a better school environment and a more successful graduate if you learn to truly listen to your students. It is important to find out about them. What are their goals? Why are they perusing this education? Why part of the industry do they find most rewarding? What are they passionate about? By truly knowing your students, you will be able to serve them better.
To be a great educator, you must learn to practice active listening.
Active listening is an effective way to communicate and can be useful when dealing with conflict situations as well as with student advising situations. As an active listener, you will:
Be with the speaker.
Concentrate on what is being said and not let your attention be diverted.
Wait until the speaker finishes before speaking.
You will not interrupt or interject. You will wait until the speaker has concluded his/her remarks before responding.
Repeat what the speaker has said.
You will reflect upon what has been said and re-state it or paraphrase it to make certain you have understood the meaning.
Gain agreement from the speaker.
You will establish that what you repeated was what was meant or intended by the speaker.
Lisha Barnes is a Cosmetology/Barber Instructor with over 25 years of experience. She started out in a small private school working in Admissions, Financial Aid, Education, and School Director. She was a Director of Education for a chain of Private Cosmetology schools. Currently she serves as the Academic Development Manager for Milady where she supports schools and educators around the nation with continuing education, curriculum development and product knowledge. Lisha has served as an Educator for Milady’s Career Institute; NACCAS Commission; Career Educators of America Committee Member; and has authored numerous writing projects for Milady. This industry experience allows her to see the industry from a variety of viewpoints, which helps in sharing information and ideas with educators all around the world.