On the first day of his existence, my son had to undergo a battery of listening tests to check his hearing. Most of us come into the world ready to listen, not speak for a reason. But all my student and adult life, I have been attending classes/workshops which help improve speaking skills, but none that helped me develop on the natural trait of listening. During our lives, speaking becomes so important that we stop listening. We hear, yes, but stop listening. And we try to make our kids that way too.
Even when we listen, it is to the verbal language and not the visual language. The ear takes dominance and sometimes complete control over this process of listening and we become deaf to the other “Hundred Languages” that we have to communicate with. These other kinds of listening have more to do with sensitivity and acknowledgement. Some take time; some are filled with pauses and silences of constructive meaning, a very personal meaning. In education, the pedagogy of listening is the pedagogy of reciprocity. It is an affirmation of the speaker/object and learner. It is an acknowledgement of “I exist” and “I am unique”. Yet how many of us listen, to ourselves and animate and inanimate things around us? How many of us parents and educators, recognise and develop it in our children?