Wait… What? Hearing it Twice for Learner Engagement

Chatterbox is what teachers dubbed me from a young age. During class and on progress reports, I’d often be called out for jabbering to my comrades out of turn. In fact, for whispering while the directions were being given for a standardized test in 6th grade, I served my only after school detention, a crippling disgrace for my 11-year-old self.

What my teachers didn’t know – or, rather, didn’t ask – was that I wasn’t actually gossiping with my friends. I was actually asking classmates for clarity on the instructions. “Wait… What?!” is what I was asking then, and I still do, today.

Rereading prompts, paragraphs, and prose (at least once) has become habit for me to ensure understanding. Am I the only one?

As one of 14 participants of a Foundations of Dialogue Education course last year, I was so reassured at the start of the training when we were invited to share requests for our “guidelines for working together” with the group and facilitators. Someone else suggested instructions be repeated aloud for clarity as they were given. Middle school me wanted to roll my eyes and blurt out “THANK YOU!”

“Hearing it twice” became a tenet our group agreed on for the four-day Foundations training. Learning task directives were repeated, passages were read again, and I couldn’t have been more relieved to be allowed the second chances I need in order to digest new information with clarity. Without reprimand.

This experience provided the opportunity to feel as a participant the importance of the inclusion of my voice in the training structure, and flexibility within the curriculum design for my needs to be met. Thanks Global Learning Partners! I’m excited to pay that forward.

Here are some additional suggestions for “hearing it twice” to keep the learners engaged in your next event:

  • Two different people read the same text (volunteers)
  • Two different people read the same text (varying gender each time)
  • One person reads the text aloud and then each person reads silently to themselves
  • One person reads the text aloud and then each person reads aloud to themselves
  • One person reads the text aloud two times

What other ways have you involved the learners in hearing it twice?

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Gina Pandolfo lives, works, and plays in Burlington, Vermont. With experience in community development, educational, and human services programs, Gina is motivated by creative and inclusive efforts towards the viability prosperity as accessible for all Vermonters.

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