How often have you asked someone "How did your day go?" and never really heard the answer, or asked your student "How has your week been?" while sorting out your lesson plans. If you're anything like I used to be, all the time. How does it make you feel when someone does this to you?
If you want your student to feel valued and that what they have to say is important, then you need to learn how to 'actively' listen. This is not just a matter of of not 'butting' in, although this is a very important part, it is actually listening to your student's words and body language to hear what they are actually saying AND showing them that you are listening. The following flowchart shows what qualities are required when actively listening.
Listen very carefully to what your students says to you, don't interrupt!! As a traditional driving instructor it was quite normal for me to ask questions and before listening to the complete answer, start to formulate the next question in my head.
Make your body language open and inviting and show an interest in what they are saying. Give them opportunities to
expand or correct what you think they said by paraphrasing or repeating back or, ask questions to clarify certain points if you want more information. Treat them as they would like to be treated.
Before I honed my active listening skills I missed so much really important information, I am now learning as much from my students as they learn from me. We are neither their parent nor their friend, and yet if we give them the opportunity to talk to us and feel appreciated it may be the only time that they can truly be themselves.
It is something that we can practice in and out of the car. Next time your other half gets home, ask them "How was your day?" really listen to what they have to say. However use wisely, you don't want them to think that you're after something do you?
Have fun with it, Happy Coaching and