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Habit 5 Seek First To Understand Then To Be Understood Essay Checker

Habit 5 is a VERY tricky one in my classroom! Habit 5 says "Seek first to understand, THEN to be understood." In other words, "Listen - THEN talk." Not an easy demand of a bunch of always-right, needing-to-be-heard third graders!

We practiced this skill in 5 mini-lessons:

Day 1: Chapter 5 of Sean Covey's 7 Habits of Happy Kids. I thought the discussion questions after the chapter were especially great for this one - and of course, it is SUPER important to listen first and then talk! Lots of miscommunication happening in this chapter - and the kids got a kick out of interpreting the main character's lisp!

Day 2: We made an anchor chart to hang all year about being a good listener. Since good listening is a necessary skill for practicing Habit 5, we made sure to cover all the bases! Here's what we came up with:
I combined aspects of lots of examples I found online and traced them onto the chart paper. Yay projectors!


Day 3: Video day! My kids love, love, LOVE the "Happy Kids" episodes found on the Leader in Me website. The video for Habit #5 is "Lily's Wed Paint", and in my opinion, it's the best one of the four.

Day 4: We read The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Sczieska. I have always loved this book for showing perspective, but it also works really well to convey Habit 5! We talked about how the wolf was misunderstood; the police didn't listen to him before they decided he was guilty. They should have sought first to understand! :-)

Day 5: Okay, so this lesson didn't go QUITE as planned. I tried using one of the Franklin Covey lessons from the Leader in Me website. It involved a lot of prep and a LOT of teamwork- I think it could have worked better for Habit 6 (Synergize)! I split the class into groups of 3, and each group member had a number: #1 could talk, but couldn't stand up or write; #2 could stand up, but couldn't talk or write; and #3 could write, but couldn't talk or stand up. Each group member was given two (different) clues to ultimately lead their group in making a house out of gumdrops and toothpicks. 

We did NOT get far. I didn't even take pictures of the horrible lopsided formless structures!
Obviously, we need some more work on synergizing and "seeking first to understand"! While this activity was pretty frustrating for the kids (and definitely WAY longer than my 5-15 minute "mini-lesson" slot - we ended up giving up after 30 minutes!), it did lead into some good discussion about different ways of communication and listening. So, we learned something, anyway!

Good luck teaching Habit 5!

Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Probably none, right?

If you're like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you're listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. Do any of the following sound familiar?

"Oh, I know just how you feel. I felt the same way." "I had that same thing happen to me." "Let me tell you what I did in a similar situation."

Because you so often listen autobiographically, you tend to respond in one of four ways:

Evaluating:You judge and then either agree or disagree.
Probing:You ask questions from your own frame of reference.
Advising:You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
Interpreting:You analyze others' motives and behaviors based on your own experiences.

You might be saying, "Hey, now wait a minute. I'm just trying to relate to the person by drawing on my own experiences. Is that so bad?" In some situations, autobiographical responses may be appropriate, such as when another person specifically asks for help from your point of view or when there is already a very high level of trust in the relationship.