One of the things I love most about this book is that it doesn’t feel daunting at all. One of the big issues that staff raise with me when I talk about the importance of listening and enabling young people to feel heard is the issue of time. How will we find time to do all that listening when we’re already overstretched and overworked?
It’s a good question – and the answer is that it’s about quality rather than quantity and this book is just the same.
It’s a slim paperback at under 100 pages. It doesn’t feel weighty or scary in your hands. But every page provides down to earth sensible advice that will either reassure or inspire. Often you’ll find yourself thinking ‘of course, why didn’t I think of that?’
Many staff I work with want to support vulnerable pupils but lack the confidence to do so – I think this book will help to bridge the gap and, as its subtitle suggests, help you to know what to say when you don’t know what to say.
The book is clearly written and the contents list helps you to understand exactly what is covered:
- There’s never enough time
- What if I’m not the right person to help?
- As a listener, what exactly am I trying to achieve?
- How do I show that I understand?
- What if I can’t get help?
- What if I get upset myself?
- As a listener, what exactly do I say?
- What if someone asks for advice?
- Should I talk about my own experiences?
- Is it okay to hug a person?
- What if I don’t like someone?
- What if they get angry with me?
- What if someone doesn’t want to talk?
- What if the can’t say what they feel?
- What about confidentiality?
- What if someone just wants attention
- What if they’re really clingy?
- Who are struggling with family relationships
- Who need to talk about death
- Who are stubborn
- Who talk of suicide
- What lack self-esteem
- Who are angry
- Who are being bullied
- Who say they’re depressed
- Who self-harm
- Who want to talk about sex
- Who can’t see the point of life
- Who don’t care about anything
Conversations that can’t be avoided:
- With students
- With parents
- With colleagues
Who listens to the listeners?
I’d recommend “Essential Listening Skills for Busy School Staff” to anyone working with young people (and not just in schools) who wants to improve their ability and capacity to listen in a meaningful way, and especially to those who are anxious about doing or saying the wrong thing. This book is packed with sensible advice, reassurance and ideas.
Extract – as a listener, what exactly am I trying to achieve?
The book is available for £10.99 from Jessica Kingsley publishers – you’ll get a 10% discount if you quote MHA