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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Teacher Interventions When the Disruptive Behavior is Related to the Anti-Social Skills the Student Has Developed:Respectful Listening, Part One

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly, our mentees should know how to teach students to replace the anti-social skills they have mastered with productive, and effective pro-social skills such as the ability to respectfully listen to others.

This is the first part of a two-part lesson on teaching students to listen respectfully to each other. You can find the second part of this lesson by clicking on to this url:

Teach Students to Respectfully Listen to Each Other (*Solomon & Solomon, 1987)

Enduring Jewish Knowledge: These middot: Derech Eretz-showing civility and respect for others, and Tzelem Elohim-all people are created in HaShem’s image.

Materials Needed: Demonstration of Respectful Listening and Disrespectful Listening Recording Form (displayed at the top of this post), a writing implement, a person is needed to demonstrate respectful and disrespectful listening with you. This person can be a madrich, teaching assistant, or another teacher.

Note: Respectful Listening involves two skills, paraphrasing and probing. The listener must paraphrase the speaker, and then ask probing, non-judgmental questions (see the dialogue below).


1. The teacher facilitates a classroom conversation on the importance of respectful listening as a Jewish virtue.

2. The teacher engages in a conversation with another person (called the speaker) in which the teacher demonstrates respectful listening to the class, while the students record what they see and hear the teacher doing during the conversation. A sample conversation demonstrating respectful listening between a teacher and the speaker follows. Below is the respectful listening recording form.

Teacher: What is your opinion about someone choosing to make aliyah?

Speaker: That’s stupid! Why would anyone want to do that? Israel is a dangerous country; it has a different language to learn; friends and family are here; why would anyone want to move away from the United States? That's dumb!

Teacher: So let me see if I understand what you’re saying. You believe it’s foolish to make aliyah because Israel is so different from the US - a new language, new people, and a whole new culture. Is that right?

Speaker: Yes, that’s right.

Teacher: Well, given all those reasons, why do you think some people make aliyah any way?

Speaker: Perhaps they want to support Israel?

Teacher: I think you're making a good point, but I’d like to respectfully disagree with you, and say that I don’t think making aliyah is a stupid idea, it’s just different from what you believe. I think it’s wonderful that some people have such a love for Israel that they are willing to give up their comfortable life in the United States to move to Eretz Yisrael.

Speaker: Okay, I see your point of view.

*Solomon, R. & Solomon, E. (1987). The Handbook for the Fourth R: Relationship Skills. Columbia, MD. National Institute for Relationship Training, Inc .

On the next post we will complete the second part of this two-part lesson on teaching students to respectfully listen to teach other.

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