This toolkit was created in partnership with PERTS to support educators who are taking action in their classrooms.
Reflect on Student Perspectives
Listening is an important tool that can help you build a caring relationship with students. One way to make students feel respected and cared for is to seek their input whenever appropriate. This practice will help you build caring relationships with students by practicing active listening, soliciting student input, and prolonging wait time.
The Power of Being Heard
Research shows what we all know to be true: the relationship between teacher and students significantly impacts student engagement, behavior, and learning (Roorda, Koomen, Spilt, & Oort, 2011). A teacher who makes his or her students feel heard, valued, and respected shows students that the classroom is fair and they can grow and succeed there (Wentzel, K. R., 1997; Murdock, T. B. & Miller, A., 2003). One way to make students feel respected and cared for is to seek their input whenever appropriate. Another is to practice active listening in the classroom to demonstrate care for your students by finding opportunities to fully concentrate on what they are saying.
Increasing wait time also helps students see their contributions are valued. One study showed that after asking questions of their students, most instructors waited less than one second before calling on a student who immediately had a response or provided the answer themselves (Rowe, 1986). Increasing this amount of time, known as wait time, can allow for student responses to be more substantive (Rowe, 1986). These three strategies all focus on ways you can better hear your students and respond to meet their needs.
Inspired to try this practice?
The purpose of this practice is to establish your classroom as a safe space for students to be themselves and to build deeper connections with them.
The toolkit includes several sections: strategies and tools for soliciting student input, practicing active listening, and prolonging wait time in your classroom. Using the toolkit resources, you’ll reflect on your own process of listening to your students, and create stronger habits that encourage wait time and allow students the space they need to think and reflect.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect and what you will need as you plan:
- Who should try it? This practice can be adapted for any K-12 classroom.
- When you should you try it? This practice can be tried any time during the school year.
- What materials are needed? You will need:
- A list of key questions for a single lesson
- A visible note to help you stick to 3 seconds of wait time (i.e., Post-It note)
- How much time is needed? This practice will take 20 minutes to complete the main activity. You may then want to set aside 10-20 minutes for reflection.
If you’re ready to get started, follow the guidelines in our toolkit to learn more!
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