As part of our ongoing professional training at Hils, we were given the task of reading a book that would give us more knowledge and more insight to apply in our everyday work with our students. I chose a book about teenagers, â€œHow to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talkâ€ by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, partly because many of my students are teens or pre-teens and also because I have two teenagers myself!!! (No wonder the grey hair and the appearance of more wrinkles!!). In this age of too many digital gadgets that accelerate our lives, keep us constantly wired denying any free time and giving us hardly any time to â€œbeâ€, communication is of the essence: Constructive and empowering communication is what I mean. Teenagers, as we all well know go through a period of discovering themselves and establishing self identity and self acceptance. In this book the authors point out that it is not so important what we say but HOW we say it. Instead of evaluating, we need to describe what we see, describe what we feel, be it positive or negative. Sometimes kids make parents angry and vice versa. In this case, both parties need to say what they feel or what they expect instead of counterattacking. Feelings need to be acknowledged with a sound or word, like â€œouchâ€ or â€œI seeâ€ and then identify the feeling â€œthat must be very frustrating/painful/scary. Nobody likes to be frustrated/hurt/scaredâ€. Instead of put downs, listen with a nod, a sound or a word. Instead of dismissing thoughts and feelings, put thoughts and feelings into words. When there is a conflict or problem we need to work it out together. First open the communication channel by inviting your teenager to give her/his point of view (without interrupting). Then state your point of view (without interrupting). Next step, invite your teen to brainstorm with you. Write down all ideas without evaluating. Finally review your list and decide which ideas you want to put into action. I have tried it and it really makes a difference!! I recommend this book to all parents and educators working with teens. As usual, what it boils down to is making a conscious effort and to be consistent in applying the learned strategy whenever we can. Changing patterns of communication is not easy, being aware of the need to change is the first step in the right direction.
We see so many children struggle with memory, attention and language- which are all very important elements of learning.
The Hils staff are working on online tutorials to gain better understanding and deeper knowledge in these areas. We are also learning alternate strategies and techniques that can be used to helpÂ children with these difficulties.
We are happy to report that Miki has ‘graduated’ from Hils, after being with us for 6 years.
She will be furthering her studies at McGill University in Montreal. We will miss her but wish her all the best as she embarks on the next exciting chapter of her life.