1. One-to-one listening, working in pairs

This section can help adults engage with each other as well as with children and young people. It can be used to listen to someone having a difficulty or to address an issue of behaviour. At this challenging time expect unusual, distressed behaviour from colleagues and parents/carers as well as from children/young people. Respond with empathy. The listening frame below is perfect to help with this.

a) Restorative Enquiry as a response to behaviours which may be affecting the engagement or the wellbeing of an individual or those around him/her.

First get in the restorative zone! (see above). Imagine you are growing roots; breathe deeply; remember that all behaviour is an expression of an unmet need and at this time may well come from a state of confusion, distress or anxiety. Do your best to avoid reprimands; disapproval; judgement; taking sides; giving your opinion or your advice. Just be ready to listen and help the person get to the point where they can take responsibility, put things right and move on. (and learn how to get it right next time when something similar happens)

Ask some or all of the following questions:

  • What’s happened?
  • What was going through your mind?
  • How were you feeling at that point?
  • Who has been affected by what has happened?
  • What do you need now to put things right and get back on track?*
  • What can you do to meet those needs?

*If the person is familiar with talking about their needs, they may not require any prompting. If they or you are not, then you could show them the sheet of needs that is supplied with this resource, and invite them to choose a few. 

The question is designed to get to the underlying needs rather than inviting demands or obligations (he needs to …/I need to …)

b) Restorative Enquiry to help people talk about their experiences of Lockdown

The instructions here are for peer work but can also be used by an adult listener with a student, or in adult supervision. 

Resources

–           a pack of Needs Cards per pair (or a handout with needs written on it – this is
           supplied as a separate resource)

–           blank paper for each person’s plan

–           felt tips to write or draw plan

1)         One person is the listener and the other is the speaker.

2)         The listener encourages their partner to speak by using the questions below.

3)         Minimal encouragers are used to draw out the speaker but the listener makes no
            comments of their own – they are simply listening and encouraging the speaker to
            find their own way through and make a plan to support themselves moving forward.

4)         When the first speaker has completed their plan – with very specific actions, dates
             and times recorded, the pair swap roles and repeat the activity

– What was happening/happened during Lockdown?

– What thoughts came up for you?

– What feelings came up for you when you had these thoughts?

– Who has been affected by this virus and the lockdown?

– What do you need now to keep yourself positive?

– What can you do to meet these needs?

c) Empathic Reflective Listening

This is a variant on the above activity, but develops the listener’s ability to reflect back what they have heard. It also deepens the sense of the speaker that they have been heard.

Resources

–           worksheet illustrating the process (see resources)

–           a pack of Needs Cards per pair (or a handout with needs written on it – this is
           supplied as a separate resource)

–           blank paper for each person’s plan

–           felt tips to write or draw plan

The Restorative Enquiry frame is used, but each person takes it in turn to share their response to each question.

After they have spoken their partner says: “So what I have heard you say is …”  and repeats back, almost word for word, what they have heard. If they have missed something out or misunderstood something the speaker can clarify. 

As people get more proficient in this feedback skill people can learn to use phrases like 

“What you said you thought was …”

“What you said you felt was …”

“You feel strongly that … etc”

And put views and opinions into reported speech 

“What you believe is …”

“Your view is …”

This enables the listener to repeat back experiences and views that they may not necessarily agree with themselves.

d) Creative Storytelling

Aims

–           to stimulate expression through artistic means to help young people find
           expression when words are a challenge

–           to encourage the imagination

–           to surface experiences that are below the conscious level

–           to help people understand more the depth of their own experiences

Resources

Make available a whole range of resources – so that people can choose the way they prefer to convey their experiences; alternatively choose just one or two and demonstrate some possibilities (for some people too much choice might be overwhelming) 

Drawing

– paper

– coloured card

– paint

– coloured pencils

– pastels

– felt tip pens

– stickers

– feathers

– glue

– coloured string

Modelling

– play dough

– clay

– salt dough

3D enactment

– plastic/wooden characters (eg Playmobil; Sylvanians; plastic models)

– plastic/wooden animals (Playmobil; Duplo; plastic zoo and farm animals)

– small wooden buildings

– rail track

– sand tray

– wooden blocks

1)         One person is the listener and the other is the speaker.

2)         The listener encourages their partner to speak by simply asking what has been
            happening.

3)         Minimal encouragers are used to draw out the speaker but the listener makes no
            comments of their own – they are simply listening and encouraging the speaker to
            tell their story. 

4)         The listener can ask clarifying questions to help understanding.

5)         When one person has finished the other has their turn.

6)         The scenes can be photographed to act as a stimulus for further written work if the
            pair would like this.

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