Mediation Awareness Week runs from 6th-12th October and there are a wide range of events planned to promote the benefits of mediation and mediating ways. The Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution focuses its resources on helping young people, parents, carers and professionals, to resolve conflict. Although using the same skills of active listening, questioning and reflecting back, mediation and mediating ways can benefit different situations. Mediation uses the skills of a trained mediator to help people who are in conflict, to talk through their issues and to move forwards. Mediating ways can and should be used by everyone to help conversations to be better. Working as a mediator it still surprises me how helping people to actively listen to what others have to say can so positively impact conflict resolution. Perhaps in the run up to Mediation Awareness Week, we could all reflect on how and when we use mediating ways and how we might improve our listening skills.
Andrew, I was delivering a session the other day, when a participant came up at the end and said that they had reflected that they had not made the time for listening but reacting to what they chose to hear. Going on to say that they needed to be a more patient listener, which in turn would inform a better response and not trigger conflict. There is a lesson for us all in this, make time to listen.
Hi Andrew and Duncan,
I’ll be doing a few sessions with some primary aged kids in the next few weeks and hope to focus on active listening. Do you know of any good exercises or activities to develop this skill?
How about splitting the kids into 2 groups. In pairs one person tells the other a story about anything. The other person listens some of the time and appears distracted the rest of the time. Feedback from the storyteller how easy it is to tell their story when they are not being listened to!
Describing shapes can be quite a fun active listening activity. Putting the children in pairs back to back with one asking other to describe a simple shape without using the shape name, while they draw whatever is been described. The listener can ask either as many questions or a set number of questions to assist in drawing the shape. Once completed the person drawing identifies the shape to the other. The activity can be reversed so each get a shot. To conclude a discussion about how hard was it to listen carefully? Why did they have to ask questions? Did they manage to understand and draw the shape being described? What does this tell us about the importance of listening carefully and asking appropriate questions? I hope this helps.
Excellent, cheers guys