Covid-19 has put us in uncharted waters. We are all struggling in numerous ways, aren’t we. Not to mention the infamous unavailability of the toilet paper. And amongst the various strugglers, should I mention the struggles of the True Gen. The first generation of true digital natives! With absolutely no schools, extra curricular options or even friends available to catch up with, children and particularly young adults are going through a lot of trouble worldwide.
With the introduction to online learning as an attempt to push ahead with the academic calendar, it is an unwieldly task for teachers and students alike. Amongst many other concerns that many educational experts including those at UNESCO and UNICEF have expressed, there is one very basic and functional concern that I have come to realise. ARE THEY EVEN LISTENING ???
Any of us who have ever taken a class with the Gen-Zers knows that not only are they smarter but also more fiddle footed. To contain them in a virtual classroom is a gruelling task. Furthermore, we should keep in mind their need for social interaction. They are born with social needs. So when they are sitting in a virtual classroom, they may not be aligned to the learning process. As I said earlier, they are native to digitalisation and the effectivity of virtual classrooms cannot be doubted, what I am doubtful about though is the fact that they have a very short attention span. About 8 seconds!!!
A shorter attention span leads to easy distraction which in turn, affects a child’s listening skills. They might be hearing, but are they listening to understand and comprehend.
Schools should consider including listening skills as a part of their life skills program. And meanwhile as parents we can work on the ‘active listening skills‘ during the lockdown. Here is a active listening skills checklist for you.
Older children may find concentrating difficult because of access to the internet and various social media. The distraction is real and parents must keep a check on their activities. We don’t need to pry on them, instead discuss respectfully.
ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER.
For teachers and parents alike, developing your child’s active listening skills should be very important. Teachers can spare five minutes before each class and do group games like fruit salad and identify the sound to set up a lively online classroom.
MY HIPPOCAMPUS ACTIVITIES FOR ACTIVE LISTENING
There are many games and activities that can be incorporated, whilst it is a time consuming effort, at the same time you can be sure of improving a very important life skill of your child.
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