Rich Paxson

The study guide asks: “What beneficial practices have you been inducted into?”

Ron Rice was the principal of the Alternative School where I taught for two years in my twenties. Ron was a school psychologist before coming to the Alternative School, which was populated with students ousted from their regular schools for behavior and truancy issues.

Ron preached reflective, or active listening whenever he had the chance. He continuously counseled us teachers to listen for the emotion behind a student’s words. Ron urged us to reflect their emotions back to the students, but always in a non-judgmental manner. Active listening was an essential, time-laden process aimed at helping students tear down the roadblocks to their educational progress.

I taught at the Alternative School for only two years, but I’ve continued to value active listening and to practice it whenever and wherever I can. Active listening is based on respect for the other person. It creates the conditions necessary for clear communication.