Friday, January 26, 2007

Rethinking Awareness III

You will never be able to engage adolescents on more than just a surface level if you don’t spend time getting to know them. Often this starts simply by talking about hobbies, sports, movies, music, or whatever they may find of interest. People, in general, enjoy talking about subjects that interest them. Create opportunities for them to share their pursuits and passions in a way that is nonthreatening. A classroom or group setting may suit some students. There are many that would gladly spend hours discussing their zeal for snowboarding, clothes, or video games. However, there is also a multitude that would be reluctant to speak openly about their interests with other students present.

Pay particular attention to the various reactions when an opportunity to share is presented. If someone is reluctant to share something they enjoy, it could be because they have been ridiculed at some point in the past. They may have already received some heart-wounds and started to absorb some of the lies to which they were subjected. Be aware of your students’ responses to various situations. They can provide a great deal of insight into what the students have struggled through in the past or what they are currently dealing with. Try talking individually with students who are hesitant to open up in a group setting.

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