Listening with Your Heart

Listen-with-your-heart-1

Listening is one of the most challenging lessons that educators are faced with when teaching children.

One of the themes we explored this month in my yoga classes was LISTENING.  After I introduced the theme, I asked the children to share why listening is so important and where they can listen.  Many of them responded that they listen to teachers  so they can learn and to their parents when they ask them to do something.  We discussed how listening was a great way of helping too.  Then I told them that we were going to practice our listening by reading 2 poems and asked them to “put on their listening ears”.

Poetry is such a wonderful resource for teaching.

Children are captivated by the sound of rhyming words and the singsong of your voice as you recite each verse.  After reading the first poem, I asked the children to help me with the next “action poem” where I read part of the poem and we pointed to different parts of our bodies and they filled in the missing words.

This is the poem I used:

I listen mostly with my _____ (ears, point to ears)

But I sometimes listen with my _____ (eyes, point to eyes)

I look at your _____ (face, point to face)

Sometimes it’s a big ______ (surprise, open your mouth and look surprised)

I listen mostly with my  ______ (eyes, point to eyes)

That’s a really good place to start

But I learn a lot about you

When I listen with my ______ (heart, point to heart)

Playing listening games is a fun way to teach listening skills.

One was yoga telephone where the children sit in a circle and close their eyes. I placed a small animal puppet in one child’s hands and when they all opened their eyes, that child whispers the name of the animal to the next child and then each child whispers in the next child’s ear until it goes around the circle.  Then the last child names the puppet and we all do the yoga pose together. For younger kids, we passed the puppet around the circle and the children had to listen to when the music stopped and the child with the puppet in their hand led the class in that yoga pose.

Most importantly, children learn that listening is not something they only do with their ears, but also with their eyes, their hearts, their whole beings.  They understand the importance of listening to their teachers, parents, family and friends as a way to show that they care.

listen quote

image credit amtbweb.org