Texting and e-mail are diminishing children’s listening skills - expert
Bermuda now has a generation of children who are lacking in listening skills because they spend too much time e-mailing and texting.
This is the view of overseas expert Jenny Mosley who spent a week on the Island to spread the word about the importance of “old-fashioned listening skills”.
She believes it’s “a sign of the times” that the over-usage of technology has left children not fully developed in basic listening skills.
Ms Mosley said parents weren’t helping the situation as many were “too busy or stressed” to properly communicate with their children. For example, she said parents say ‘give me a minute’ when their child asks a question instead of giving their full attention.
Ms Mosley, who has a background in teaching and psychology in England, carried out a series of workshops for staff and students at Warwick Academy last week. On Friday morning’s session she welcomed more than 50 teachers from primary schools across the Island.
She encourages the use of her Whole School Quality Circle Time model, which has been commended by the UK Government and is currently used in 95 percent of the UK’s primary schools.
Ms Mosley says it’s vital to promote children’s “social and emotional intelligence” as they no longer learn the relevant skills at home.
She said: “Everyone is running around so much in today’s world that we no longer have time to listen to each other.
“We lead very busy and stressful lives and any time we do have is spent hooked to the latest technology.
“This technology is over-stimulating any concentration that children ever had. It means when they try to concentrate, they can’t really listen.
“Children no longer know what listening is. They may look like they are listening, but things are going in one ear and right out the other.”
Ms Mosley said Bermuda’s children had the same problem as the rest of the world when it came to the need for learning more positive behaviour skills.
She promotes “a whole school approach” based on listening, thinking, language, speaking and concentration.
Her golden rules for children are be gentle and do not hurt anyone, be kind and helpful and don’t hurt people’s feelings, listen and do not interrupt, be honest and do not cover up the truth and work hard and do not waste time.
Ms Mosley said: “Children no longer play traditional board games likes Snakes and Ladders where they learn to take turns and sit face-to-face.
“If there’s a problem with a computer game or mobile phone, they just turn the screen off. There’s no problem-solving, negotiations or conflict resolutions.
“It means children now need to be taught certain social skills as they don’t seem to pick them up as they are growing up.
“It’s giving children the skills to deal with issues. They need these skills to grow as people.”
Much of Ms Mosley’s curriculum is enforced in the playground with the setting up of ‘friendship stops’ to encourage talking and teamwork. It is believed this approach will also raise students’ self-esteem and promote positive relationships in and out of school.
Warwick Academy’s primary school is the first school in Bermuda to adopt Ms Mosley’s curriculum in an attempt “to release the excellence of students”.
Ms Mosley added “it’s not hard” to teach children skills they should already know “as long as it’s taught within the set framework”.
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