Six Points of Mindful Speaking and Listening
About This Resource
This resource was developed by Elizabeth Breck over the course of her studies at Naropa University and was used with middle grade and high school level students, but could also be easily adapted for use with younger children. This approach introduces speaking and listening as a medium for contemplation, a useful skill in self-calming and a way to develop compassion. Additionally it supports students in self-calming when they are speaking, gives them the opportunity to be at home with silence and helps develop a balanced skill in being a speaker and a listener.
You may choose to begin this lesson with a simple partner exercise that the teacher can model with a volunteer. You might try reading a short poem, pausing as you like, while your partner only listens. Then you switch—try and use about 60 seconds each. Alternatively, you could try speaking more spontaneously, perhaps about something that makes you smile. Whichever content you choose, model the skills that are given in the powerpoint, so that when students see them, they will make a connection. After teacher/partner modeling, allow students to practice for one minute each, signaling them to stop with a chime or hand-signal. After they have shared, give them one minute to reflect on anything they noticed.
While making the presentation, ask students to jot down notes and drawings ‘graffiti notes style’ to capture what they feel is most essential to remember. After the presentation, review what students heard and remember from the presentation. Then give them the opportunity to practice briefly again, and reflect on how it felt this time, and to compare and contrast the experience with their earlier practice. Partners may share their reflections on their graffiti board, and present them to another dyad. Consider closing with an excerpt from a recording of a great speech.