Best Practice

Are you really listening? Using listening and speaking skills to support wellbeing and learning

We are living in challenging times and young people are facing many stressors and threats to their wellbeing. Alison Woolf says that employing some simple speaking and listening skills can help our students


“Completely” listening and then speaking in a way that lowers levels of emotional intensity and demonstrates the intention to understand and help can be a powerful communication of our care for pupils.

As educators we understand the value of the teacher-pupil relationship. Relationships are built during both teaching and non-teaching interactions, where teacher qualities foster the learning process and the personal development of pupils.

Teaching is such a fulfilling job, with the sense of purpose that many of us feel being key to that fulfilment. However, the downside of “burn-out” or “compassion fatigue” is often unrecognised or unaddressed.

A lack of training in relational dynamics can also impact teachers’ mental wellbeing: “Without an understanding of the raw emotions involved in teaching, and adequate training in how to look after oneself and the students during moments of intensity, teachers are placed into intensely emotional environments ill-equipped to deal with strong emotions when they inevitably arise.” (Riley, 2011)

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