I’ve decided to research active listening and pinpoint some cognitive and behavioral aspects of listening that can help tutors affectively collaborate with tutees. This project made me reevaluate my own listening practices, and it became sort of “meta” during my tutoring sessions. The tutors who listened to me reading my paper aloud subtlety changed their body language to reflect what I wrote in my paper.

First, I focused on the behavioral aspects of listening, including mental focus. I explained the weakness of the phrase “listen harder.” Through my research I discovered how complex the mental listening process is.

Second, I delved into effective listening body language, which includes: facing the speaker, nodding, rephrasing, and questioning. However, over emphasizing these practices can also seem condescending to a speaker. A tutor must be sensitive to the context of the session and notice how a speaker responds to listening body language.

I’m still not quite sure what to create for my final deliverable though. Originally, I intended crafting a handout that could be used by tutors and tutees. Professor Russell mentioned that I could use “Case Builder” software to create potential situations where tutors write how they would react. This software is much more dynamic and interesting than a handout. I would create a fictional tutoring scenario; focused on listening, and then a tutor chooses from options how they would respond to the situation. Then they could see the “suggested behavior” described in the scenario. This “quiz” I make could then be a tutor-training tool. Would this be a good way to train tutors? Or would another type of deliverable be more effective?

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