Listen First in Schools
Listen First Project seeks to support and recognize schools who believe listening is important for school success.
Our goal is to recognize schools across the country, and across the world, who are applying principles consistent with our mission. These schools will carry the distinction of Listen First School.
Many schools find it an appropriate first step to establish a student Listen First chapter. Find out more information about that process here.
Research and personal experience alike point to the importance of genuinely listening to students, teachers, parents, and others with a vested interest in education. Listen First Project seeks to raise awareness that all voices matter, a vision shared by Listen First Schools.
Schools build Listen First cultures by (a) encouraging conversations, (b) acknowledging the validity of diverse perspectives, and (c) training in best practices. The type of culture enabled by these practices provides the space for collaborative problem solving and elicits higher levels of participation. Listen First Project seeks to provide tools and resources that enable productive conversations and the ability to understand and appreciate the multiple perspectives that make a school run efficiently and effectively.
Who Needs to Listen First?
One of the most frequent questions we get about our Project is, “to whom are you speaking when you say Listen First?” Our answer is, “it depends!” We believe listening is universally appealing and yet not equally distributed in the population. Underlying all forms of human communication is a power differential - some people are empowered from birth to “speak their mind” while others are taught, most often implicitly, to “remain silent.” Some groups have been historically silenced, and they are the first to whom we should listen. In schools, students, teachers, and parents often express feeling unheard and unappreciated. We have compiled our thoughts about these issues in an upcoming report. To receive updates, email Graham Bodie, Ph.D.
Listen First Chapters in Schools
Schools that establish Listen First chapters are encouraged to build capacities for regular meetings where students, teachers, staff, parents, and administration can practice various models of what we call Listen First Conversations - any conversation that prioritizes respect and understanding of diverse perspectives. Because our ideals are shared by several other models for civic engagement and participation, we have built a coalition of organizations, all of which provide structured activities for use and adaptation in schools. Each of our partners promotes a Listen First virtue in their local contexts to improve culture and bridge divides while fostering a new generation of Listen First Leaders.
Integrate #ListenFirst in Your School
Email Graham Bodie, PhD to discuss becoming a Listen First School!