Archive for November, 2007


On Listening & Learning, part deux

November 30, 2007

My classes are done for the semester at Georgia Southern. My students are deep in their preparation for final exams. Let’s take some more time to remember how much our listening affects our learning.

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. — Robert Frost

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. — Ernest Hemingway

In order that all men may be taught to speak the truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it. — Samuel Johnson

I learned to write by listening to people talk. I still feel that the best of my writing comes from having heard rather than having read. — Gayl Jones

I make progress by having people around me who are smarter than I am and listening to them. And I assume that everyone is smarter about something than I am. — Henry J. Kaiser

I feel like a terribly slow learner in acknowledging that only in recent years have I come to learn that listening is a primary way by which I can become a significant person in my own eyes and in the eyes of others. And I must continually relearn it. — Earl Koile

We should never pretend to know what we don’t know, we should not feel ashamed to ask and learn from people below, and we should listen carefully to the views of the cadres at the lowest levels. Be a pupil before you become a teacher; learn from the cadres at the lower levels before you issue orders. — Mao Tse-Tung

Talk less—you will automatically learn more, hear more, see more—and make fewer blunders. — Mark McCormack

Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance. — Proverbs 1:5

A little-recognized value of listening and inquiring relates to the realization that in human relationships, it is frequently not what the I’ve learned … that it is best to give advice in only two circumstances: when it is requested and when it is a life-threatening situation. — Andy Rooney

When you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and asking questions, always new questions, then it is time to die. — Lillian Smith

When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something. — Jared Sparks

[T]he seeds of [the Argument Culture] can be found our classrooms, where a teacher will introduce an article or an idea . . . setting up debates where people learn not to listen to each other because they’re so busy trying to win the debate. — Deborah Tannen


On Listening & Learning

November 27, 2007

As we approach final exam time around the country, perhaps it’s time to think about how listening and learning are intertwined. Let’s “hear” from several people:

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. — Ralph Nichols

It seems that we shall eventually come to believe that the responsibility for effective oral communication must be equally shared by speakers and listeners. When this transpires, we shall have taken a long stride toward greater economy in learning, accelerated personal growth, and significantly deepened human understanding. — Ralph Nichols

I think I’ll learn more from listening. Anything I would say I already know. — Anonymous student explaining while she did not wish to participate in a discussion, quoted in Christian Science Monitor

A little-recognized value of listening and inquiring relates to the realization that in human relationships, it is frequently not what the facts are, but what people think the facts are, which is truly important. There is benefit in learning what someone else’s concept of the reality of the situation is, no matter how wrong it might be. — Bryan Bell

Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearing of little children tends towards the formation of character. — Hosea Ballou

An intelligent person is someone who listens with understanding. — M. Bradley

Oh, listen a lot and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking. — Bing Crosby

We listen in order to learn and retain information. If we are speaking, we are not listening or learning anything to add to our sum of knowledge. This is why the first step to effective listening is to stop talking! — Ken Fracaro

Stay tuned . . . I’ll post more quotations on listening and learning later this week.


Take Time to Listen

November 18, 2007

Take time to listen. Often times, the things we seek are right underneath our noses. Don’t miss out on your blessing because it isn’t packaged the way that you expect.

The little child whispered, “God, speak to me.” And a meadowlark sang. But the child did not hear. So the child yelled, “God, speak to me!” And the thunder rolled across the sky. But the child did not listen. The child looked around and said, “God let me see you.” And a star shone brightly

But the child did not notice. And the child shouted, “God show me a miracle!” And a life was born. But the child did not know. So the child cried out in despair, “Touch me God, and let me know you are here!” Whereupon God reached down and touched the child. But the child brushed the butterfly away and walked away unknowingly.

— Anonymous


“Too Busy” to Listen?

November 16, 2007

This morning, I “Googled” the expression “too busy to listen,” and guess how many web pages used this expression? Get ready . . . there were more than 29,000 pages! (Take the quotation marks off the search phrase and the total soars to nearly three million.)

I wonder how many of us, in our day to day lives, ever say to another, “Sorry, I was just too busy to listen effectively”? I bet it would be more than we’d like to admit.

The Rev. Adrian Dieleman posted a sermon on his church website, where he shares “a ‘Dennis the Menace’ cartoon in the newspaper a few years ago illustrates this so very well. Dennis wanted to tell his parents something important. But he just couldn’t get their attention. They were too busy cleaning out the closet or something. Dennis even rang the doorbell. Finally, out of desperation, he deliberately dropped his mother’s crystal vase on the floor and broke it. Then, and only then, did his parents listen to him.”

Dieleman continues, “There are many parents who say ‘later’ or ‘don’t bother me now’ to their children. There are lots of people whose busy lifestyle does not allow them much time to visit elderly parents. There are many corporations that are so busy trying to capture new markets and make bigger profits that they don’t take the time to listen to the complaints, problems, or suggestions of their employees.”

What’s going on in your life? Family? Work? Volunteering? Oh yes, and time for yourself?

What happens when we make the choice not to listen? We harm relationships, we spend time in rework, and we miss out on an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes, that “someone” is ourself.

Take time to listen. There’s power in listening.


A Merry Feaste! Madrigal Dinner at Effingham County High School

November 15, 2007

Take a multi-course, Renaissance-style feast, season it with exuberant singing and music, stir in some old-fashioned swordplay, add a surprise or two just for fun and you have the makings of Effingham County High School’s unique madrigal dinner. Delightful morsels and savory sounds are sure to put everyone in the holiday spirit. As the dinner is served, music and laughter literally will surround you as members of the court (the ECHS Chorus) mingle and perform throughout the hall. The King and Queen, along with the Royal Court, welcome the guests with toasts, greetings and songs while the jester makes a jovial “fool” of himself. (And see this blogger’s son James as a peasant!)

  • Upcoming Schedule: Friday, December 14th, 2007 at 6:30 pm; Saturday, December 15th, 2007 at 6:30 pm
  • Location: Effingham County High School, 1589 Hwy 119 South, Springfield, GA 31329; 912.754.6404
  • Contact Information:Wes Perkins; Email Address:; Phone number: 912.754-6404, x. 1244
  • Tickets and Pricing Information:$15 per person (on sale now); includes dinner and the show

The Best Advice in Stress Relief

November 12, 2007

Since it hasn’t been so long since I was a student myself, I can definitely relate to the stress involved during finals week. My best advice? Not “take a deep breath.” It’s exhale.

According to the International Breath Institute, “‘Take a deep breath’ can [actually] be very bad advice to someone who is feeling anxious or is agitated.” To balance your CO2 levels, inhale, then make your exhale last twice as long. You’ll definitely feel a difference.

I keep a framed kanji of the word “exhale” on my wall. When I’m feeling out of sorts, a quick glance at the kanji reminds me to do what’s best for me, to exhale.

In closing, here’s a wonderful quote by Koichi Tohei: “Breathe out so your breath travels to heaven.” Keep this in mind the next time you are feeling stressed.



Whole-Face Listening

November 10, 2007

Does anyone read the Rose is Rose comic strip? One time, the toddler son (Pasquale) admonished his mother (Rose) for being visibly distracted while the boy wanted her to be listening. Rose went about her business and assured her son that she was paying attention, even though she was not looking at him. Pasquale grabbed Rose by the cheeks and turned her head to that they made eye contact; he then said, “No, Mom, I want ‘whole-face’ listening.” Read the rest of this entry ?