Active listening is a communicational skill that, if done authentically, provides teachers with a way to establish symmetrical, emphatic, non-dependant relationships with students, parents and co-workers. By using active listening, we achieve better understanding about the other’s point of view, and at the same time allow the other to feel understood, relevant and appreciated. With active listening we can also encourage self-awareness in others and heighten possibilities that they will listen to us and hear us. Active listening is especially important when we find ourselves in conflict situations or other person is distressed.
More emphatic people are often also better listeners, however the listening skills can also be obtained with practice. Researches showed that improvement in active listening skills was related to improvement in empathy. With active learning skills we can improve also our personal relationship and gain more self-confidence.
The point of active listening is in the constant search for meaning in what had been said, without being interrogative. And the very core of the active listening must be a genuinely interest in the other person. Therefor to be good listeners we must first acknowledge our own motivation to listen and identify any other possible barriers, such as lack of time, lack of emotional resources or negative beliefs regarding our competency or obligation to listen.
By Maja Lebenicnik, University of Primorska Slovenia