Listening or Hearing…There Is A Significant Difference

If you’re working in a “Service” environment at any professional capacity then you understand the foundation of both meeting and addressing needs of others. You also understand that what you learned at Post-Secondary to earn the letters behind your name is merely a brushstroke of training for actual frontline reality. To be an effective servant one factor you must reflect on is your communication skills…differentiate listening vs hearing…you were taught this but does your professional behaviour model this?

Hearing acknowledges sound of others but listening acknowledges understanding of others.

If you’re implementing a Service Improvement Plan within your organization be sure to include “listening” as one of your key measuring tools…it’s vital to the monitoring and sustaining process. 


Meaningful Connections

Personal connections with others should be considered a priority in all areas of society. Learning and experiencing this in schools are great; however the true value of personal connection is held at home with family — especially with Teens as they transition into young adulthood.

The majority of the readers here today have run the teenage trail at some capacity–either personally or as a parent. No matter what your experience is with Teens the fact is they are both directly or indirectly in our lives. 

The following article, while targeting the family unit, can also be adapted to other people who work with Teens. There are numerous areas where we can focus on improving personal connections but this article presents a good foundation to start with. 

Helping Teens To Thrive

Support Your Leaders

Professional Development should be a priority in all environments and it should be a mandate for everyone to include this in their growth plans each year….including those in leadership positions.

The article below targets Education Leaders; however, it can apply to all sectors. Professional Development should be alive and not just seen as a one off. Leaders need to model professional growth and demonstrate real leadership by practicing what and where they place value in their workplace.

CEO’s and upper management need to invest in their frontline leadership if they wish to see positive growth with their organizations. If your employer does not invest in your Professional Development, or if internal leaders do not take advantage of Pro-D opportunities then it may be time to reavaluate priorities and accountability.

Invest in Coaching for Leaders 

Depression In Teens – Do You Monitor?

I do not know how many times I have said this over the years, but I know today will not be the last time…RELATIONSHIPS FOLKS…RELATIONSHIPS!

If we trained to focus our attention on the child from the start and let this be the guide for creating the foundational priorities for his/her school year I would estimate that the number of those who fall through the social/emotional cracks would decrease substantially each year. We would be better prepared to meet the needs from the start thereby being proactive rather than reactive to needs such as depression.

The stakeholders that I primarily represent unfortunately fall through the cracks of the system more often than others. Relationships that are built on values of trust, compassion, communication, and advocacy can overcome all challenges over time…the system must champion the change to adapt to the needs of the student and not expect the student to adapt to the system.

The article below is meant to support parents; however, as educators we tend to spend more time with the children than the parents do at home during the week, and as such, we should be monitoring social and emotional signs of depression as well.

If I was asked what is more important to me…the relationship my child has with those at school or the content they are required to learn from teachers my response without hesitation is relationship. Information and facts can be learned anytime, but a relationship that can help overcome life’s challenges is far more important in my view.

Keep it Real Folks!

How To Monitor Mental State Of Your Kids

I read an article this morning that relates to this post…here is a link that presents a few ways one can manage stress related to depression:

How To Manage Stress – A Few Suggestions

Learning vs Education – What Is Your School’s Focus?

Education may not always be fun but learning should always be exciting! Educators who can differentiate between the two and who consciously create lessons knowing this are theĀ educators I want teaching my child. I encourage you to bring this up with your local PAC and/or School Board and ask them to provide support to those who may need assistance. Presenting solutions to a challenge creates positive dialogue.

While not to be an independent conclusion one gauge that can used to measure this at the high school level is to monitor your child’s attendance for each course (usually stated on report card). If you notice a high number of unexcused absences in one or more courses it can suggest a low engaging environment. You do not need letters behind your name to understand this…I f something is fun and exciting it is more likely people will want to stay to take part and less likely they will take off to avoid it.

Learning Matters More Than Education

Project Based Learning…What’s the Problem?

When I entered the education system close to 15 years ago with my newly earned B.Ed Degree I admit there was a sense of disappointment as the system did not seem that different from when I was a student in K-12….desks in rows, textbooks, worksheets, quizzes/tests regurgitating classroom instruction, and little to no choice in achieving learning outcomes. Post-Secondary training was teaching us newbies Project Based Learning Strategies but there was little to no evidence of its existence in the system, and sadly I share, there are too many classrooms today that still resemble this environment. The Fins, who are considered leaders in the education field, have mastered Project Based Learning where teaching to the child has been replaced with teaching for the child and for some reason we are failing to meet the changing environment. 

So what’s the problem?

In short the problem is not the problem….the problem is the lack of energy and focus on the solution. In the end it’s both the educators and the system who need to adapt and embrace the changing pedagogy. If the teachers are not conforming then it’s time to state direction…if the system lacks the needed support then it’s time to feed the cause.

The Fins have proved success…it’s evidence that it is possible…time to make it real in our system just as we would strive to do for our own children.

Project Based Learning….Make It Happen

Make The First Month Count

The difference between a great school year and a challenging one can be measured on the amount of time committed to relationships at the front end of the school year. Too many educators focus on the amount of curriculum they need to cover over the course of the year, but if they invested significant  time to build relationships with both children and family in the first month they would experience a school year like never before. 

Strategies For Getting To Know Your Students