Sunday, November 17, 2013

NCTE 2013: K:08 "Lend Me Your [H]ear: Envisioning Listening in 21st Century Classrooms"



In 1974 East German political scientist named Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann published a ground-breaking study designed to explain how Hitler was able to rise to power.

Spiral of Silence theory argues that the media exerts such an influence over public opinion that those who perceive their opinion to be the minority do not speak. This silence is grounded in the threat of isolation and the fear of isolation when the issue at hand has a moral component.

Spiral of Silence theory has implications for classrooms, particularly in our media-saturated world where the loudest and shrillest voices seemingly drown out the rest.

We all have seen the "wall-flower" student who cowers in the corner of our classrooms afraid to speak up. Often they fear social isolation from their peers and/or feel threatened if they hold opinions other than those of their teachers.

How can we engage these students in discussion and those who dominate the discussion in listening? 

Addressing this question is at the heart of Session K:08 "Lend Me Your [H]ear: Envisioning Listening in 21st Century Classrooms."

I'll be teaming up with Ami Szerence and Cherylann Schmidt, and we have some fabulous teaching materials for you!

Ami has some fabulous teaching ideas for assessing listening and engaging students. When I first saw Ami's agenda, I thought I knew where she was going with these strategies. Wrong! Ami will offer some unique approaches and fresh takes on each one, and I can't wait to try them out in my room. Ami's agenda includes. Here's a link to her session materials and a list of the activities:
  • Listening and the Common Core
    • How can teachers support students through authentic instruction without bowing to standardized test prep.
  • Listening Presentations and Video examples of students engaged in active listening activities.
  • Tone-in: Tuning in to SOAPStone
    • We use SOAPStone as a reading analysis activity. How can teachers leverage it to support listening?
  • Synched in to Silent Debate
    • What happens when there is no talking during an argument but students still engage in reason-giving?
  • Paper-talk Writer 
    • A new twist to Conversation Roundtable
  • Floe-Fishing Socratic Seminar
    • A new approach to the classic method teachers love and use.
Cherylann also has some fresh ideas for teaching listening. Cherylann teaches middle school, and idk, I remember how much work it takes to get these adolescents focused. You may recognize the labels, but the methodology will be new! Here's Cherylann's agenda:
  • How teachers model listening within the classroom
  • Active Listening in Writing Conferences
  • Active Listening in Reader’s Workshop
  • Student Recommended books
  • How I ask students to use listening skills?
  • Socratic seminar - How students agree with their classmates
  • Literature Circles
  • Debate - specifically rebuttal piece of debate
In typical fashion, I have over-planned. I'm looking to my background as a speech and communication teacher for inspiration as I seek new and interesting ways to engage students in speaking and listening that supports reading and writing. My teaching has been greatly influenced by communication studies. Here's a link to my session materials and a list of the lesson ideas I'll be sharing:  
  • Listening Skills Survey: Creating a Plan for Improving Listening
  • How well do our students listen? This survey is designed specifically for students, and mine are often surprised with their scores! They typically don't listen as well as they think they do.
  • "Yes But" and "Yes And": Using Improvisational Games to Improve Listening and Flesh Out Arguments.
  • In the session I'll include copies of the essays I use from Breakfast on Mars, which I have been granted permission from the editor to share. I'm so excited about this.
  • The Art of Listening: Giving and Following Instructions Activity
  • My students love this activity and are quite surprised when they see their finished masterpieces. They gain much insight about their listening skills.
  • GIST Listening and Summarizing
  • This is a lesson that serves so many purposes and is especially effective when we challenge students with difficult texts.
Finally, we'll have a drawing for a signed copy of That Shakespeare Kid by Michael LoMonico, and I'll preview some ideas about using the new Folger app for The Tempest to teach students how to listen for and identify tone in texts. I'm working on the lesson plan but have not had a chance to pilot it yet. I'm calling the lesson "Toned-Up" and will share at a later time.

Hope to see and hear you in Boston. Thanks for stopping by and listening with your eyes.