How disruptive is silence?


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 Some rights reserved by jsdilag

Just returned from a course on Cognitive Coaching with Bill and Ochan Powell where we talked about the power of listening, and being uncomfortable can be to our learning.

One of the things I started last year (and Bill and Ochan mentioned at the workshop) was the idea that as teachers, we don’t really teach listening.  Well maybe some teachers do, but things like looking at a person, focusing, and keeping eye contact doesn’t really mean listening to me.  I think listening means being able to summarize the thoughts of another, and make connections (without the purpose of summarizing or making connections).  I don’t know, I find it hard to fully describe (probably because I was never really taught).  Listening can be powerful, in this course we spent a lot of time listening, to each other, our instructors and ourselves, and honestly, I learned a lot. Mostly because I was quiet. This was incredibly difficult for me, I’m almost always trying to make connections to what people are thinking, and stopping myself from talking was something I had to learn. 
The point is, I think anyway, that making myself uncomfortable, really improved my learning.  Putting myself in a new situation, really trying to figure out someone else’s point of view, helped me learn more about them and myself. 
Since my main wondering are with technology and the environment,  I wonder how we can incorporate silence into our learning with technology.  So often we use our tech to distract us from the silence and those uncomfortable moments.  This, I feel, takes us away from those deeper learning opportunities. 
As teachers who use technology how do we initiate and establish those silence moments with a device, first in ourselves and then in our students? How can we make listening (active listening, or reading) a habit online rather than just consuming? 

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