Listening from the sidelines as six year olds take the floor

Yesterday, my pastor posted on a blog about the challenge of being a listener.  As a teacher, I’m so concerned about the pace of my instruction I confess I sometimes cut students off to move on.  But what am I teaching them?  During math yesterday, my students had the opportunity to teach about their thinking and share in a conversation with me sitting on the floor coaching in one student’s ear.  The powerful physical act of sitting among the kids, handing over the wipe off marker and letting a child take the floor created a great opportunity to practice listening.  The first graders were respectful, complimentary, reflective.  They even watched patiently as a student made a mistake, looked over at me, then raised their hands to politely correct her.  Usually math in the afternoon can be a painful time of the day when students start asking “How many more minutes until we go home?”  Maybe my modeling of patience and listening in a position of learning helped them refocus on the learning and less about the rushing to get it done.

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