Listening is a sign of respect because if someone isn’t listening, they aren’t valuing what you have to say. If you’re not worth listening to, then what are you worth to that person? So listen. But, listening takes skill and a bit of selflessness.
about listening puts the teaching second, after listening (even though listening
is in the title), because how can you teach if you haven’t listened. If you
teach before listening, you’re “assuming your way is the only correct way”
(Weissglass, p. 30). I want to listen to all my students, especially my
teacher, I gleaned from “The Voices of Young Black Males,” that I need to show
young black males “black males who are traditionally successful.” I think it
will help that there is an African-American man in the oval office—that is a
huge example, but it cannot be the only example. I also need to show other
minority groups people who are successful from their cultures and backgrounds. (Sparrow
and Sparrow, p. 43)
responding to “what stands in the way of their academic success” young, black
men responded regarding things outside of a teacher’s control, such as their
family and parental situation. However, they also mentioned some things that
are in my control, such as helping to reverse their thinking when students, “think
they can’t make it.” I can teach lessons to help the class understand how they
and other cultures have been “brainwashed and socialized to believe that the
darker your skin is, the less capable you are.” I can discuss success stories,
and help uncover the negative thinking in our classrooms and society. We can review,
analyze, and dispel the “negative influence of rap music and its messages about
the desirability of material things.” My students and I can work through
options and “choices,”and my classroom will provide a place where all students
“belong,” because I will go “above and beyond” to make school meaningful” for
them. (Sparrow and Sparrow, p. 46)
school meaningful for all students, as “Plato, wrote in The Republic, ‘There
should be no element of slavery in learning. Enforced exercise does no harm to
the body, but enforced learning will not stay in the mind. So avoid compulsion
and let your children’s lesson take the form of play’ (trans. 1941).” I understand that Weissglass included this
quote in her article to inspire us. I know that I have to look outside of the element
of slavery inherent in the “you must go to school” edict our nation prescribes
to for all students—minority and otherwise. They must stay in my classroom.
They must do good work to graduate.
isn’t saying we have to stop requiring students to read, write, and participate
in the classroom with assignments teachers lead. However, teachers need
resources and time to let the students’ minds travel to their dream project,
their true and fulfilling expression of self in as many assignments as possible.
I constantly consider how much choice and freedom, fun, and interest I can add
and allow—the control I can give up. Every day I work on finding a middle
ground and avoiding, “either” “or” thinking. There is always a creative option,
and I don’t always have to be the one to find it—students and I can join our
thinking in powerful ways. I will “take them seriously, thoughtfully interact
with them, nurture, engage and honor them — and don’t humiliate, ridicule or
Causes of disrespect to students include the following.
1. Adult fear of challenges presented by young people’s thinking.
2. Aristotle wrote, “All men by nature desire to know.”
3. Confusion about young people’s abilities and intelligence.
4. Adults mistake lack of information, skills, and capabilities for lack of intelligence. This confusion causes adults to require performance rather than to nurture young people’s inherent curiosity and intelligence.
5. Pressure from societal institutions to preserve the status quo in the society.
6. A false assumption that young people won’t learn without pressure, rewards, and punishment.”
Things we can do as educators are as follows.
1. “Decrease the role of standardized testing in evaluating student progress.
2. Strengthen all students’ first language, while supporting all students’ fluency in a second language.
3. Promote young people’s creative endeavors and incorporate play into learning activities.
4. Engage and support learners in pursuing their own interests, distinguishing between respect and permissiveness, and connect curriculum to students’ culture whenever possible.
5. Completely respect young people as emotional and intellectual human beings.
6. Encourage communication and
T. Sparrow and A. Sparrow. (February 2012) “The Voices of Young Black Males” Kappan.
Weissglass. (March 2012) “Listen First, Then Teach” Kappan (v96 N6).