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Creating a safe space for students to listen more and ignore less

In my experience, usually teenagers allow themselves to express strong opinions at school for two reasons: 

  • They’re certain their group has their back so they are making a safe bet in their resistance.
  • They get taken off guard, and unexpectedly challenged. 

And when the latter happens a threshold was crossed and something broke inside, so as a teacher, you must embrace the awkwardness alongside them while providing options to carry on. So I try my best with the following metaphorical shoulder:

  • Listen and acknowledge their decision to speak up in front of the group.
  • Highlight the strengths of their argument as a way to show we can always choose to listen first and yes, it can be uncomfortable but extremes are unable to give us clarity.  

So share the load of defying the group for them to witness and empower disagreement as an opportunity to learn.

How do you create a safe space for your students?

Share your own metaphorical shoulder commenting on my YouTube video.

Featured Image: Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash