National Listening Day 2009: Creating, Sharing, and Learning Through Conversations

As a librarian who subscribes to a philosophy of participatory librarianship, I want to alert you to the 2nd Annual National Listening Day that will be celebrated Friday, November 27, 2009!  What is National Listening Day about?

On the day after Thanksgiving, set aside one hour to record a conversation with someone important to you. You can interview anyone you choose: an older relative, a friend, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood.

What a wonderful opportunity to create conversations and to learn by listening to others!  Not only have I pledged to listen to and record my parents, but I am also pledging to continue to listen and record the conversations and stories of students and teachers in my library.    If you need some ideas or help getting started, check out the “how to” page that gives you ideas for questions and tips for participating; if you are an educator or someone who may be doing a large scale community project, this page will also provide you a resource guide you can download for free.

Here is a wonderful opportunity to connect and create through conversations and story!

One thought on “National Listening Day 2009: Creating, Sharing, and Learning Through Conversations

  1. The topic of your blog entry, listening, is an idea that does not get very much attention. Years ago a teacher of mine said that I listened well. This was in the context of a conversation we were having. This brought to my attention how being a good listener can be a positive thing to do. On the surface, listening seems passive, but in reality, listening attentively takes energy and concentration. To give back relevant responses in conversation, the listener needs to process what they are hearing and hopefully provide a response that is pertinent, well thought out, and builds on the topic being discussed. I really enjoy conversations that leave all participants more informed than they were at the beginning of the conversation. Occasionally I find that in some conversations, people will respond with something that is related but may derail the topic focus. For example, a conversation participant could say, “I appreciated the sadness projected by the musical character of the second movement of the Beethoven symphony that I heard played by the Vienna Orchestra.” If the response from the listener is, “Once I went to Vienna and rode on the giant Ferris wheel”, it seems that the respondent is not listening to the message, only an in incidental part of the sentence. This is topical derailment. I find this frustrating and disruptive to the conversation. Also, there can be speakers who go on and on, and do not seem to tune into the responses of listeners. A term that I have for this situation is a listenversation. This is where the listener can only listen and not be part of a real conversation. For certain situations, this may be good for someone who has a lot of emotional need for venting.
    Productive and enjoyable conversation comes about through careful listening. Everything from personal relationships to international politics would benefit from an emphasis on good listening skills of all participants. I applaud your blog entry for giving this topic attention.

    Wayne A.

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