Over the Christmas break, I plan to watch A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the new release about Mr. Rogers. A few weeks ago I saw Tom Hanks on Ellen speaking about what it was like to play this iconic role.
While filming, he was often reminded: “slow down.” He was compelled to make his actions more deliberate, to speak considerably slower than his norm, and to spend more time listening.
During the interview, Hanks said this about Mr. Rogers: “He taught me that listening is a million times more important than talking.” He also explained that since playing this role, he now lives by a new acronym: W.A.I.T. which stands for Why am I talking?
Hmmm…. so what about us in our role as teachers?
Do we talk too much? Do we ensure our students have the opportunity to talk, to process, to articulate their thinking? Do we give ample wait time when we ask questions? Do we truly listen to what our students have to say? What about our colleagues?
Dean Jackson has said, “Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.” Wise words.
When I am in the classroom, when I am working with teachers, when I am in a social situation, I will try to consider W.A.I.T.. What will I learn from becoming a better listener?