Reflective Responses to Learner Contributions :
Effective ways to establish mutually beneficial communication by reflective listening. When a learner contributes to the discussion or asks a question, taking the initiative to learn, what is the best way to respond? To facilitate self-discovery and self-appropriated learning, effective teachers respond without changing the topic to share their own information or perspective from a posture of mutual respect, without domination. These three reflective responses, when used in sequence, constitute a responding convention, a standard way to develop habits of talking that release the potentialities of the learner and promote mutually significant sharing by both the teacher and the learner. Used in this order they sequence the amount of teacher control, starting with the lightest level.
• Paraphrase: While remaining alert to both the intellectual and emotional aspects of learner contributions, rephrase the underlying message the learner is sending in one's own words, not the learner's words. This especially applies when the learner says something new, something more than the commonplace. Avoid 'parroting' the learnerÕs words or routinely beginning, 'I hear you saying.....' Both are irritating and condescending. Example: Student says, 'I am confused. I still don't know what you want from me.' Paraphrase: 'You see no way to start, huh?'
• Parallel Personal Comment: Without changing the topic or bending it in the slightest, talk about one's own current feelings or a past experience that matches exactly what the learner has said. The intention is to convey parallel aspects of yourself that validate the other's perspective or confirm your understanding of what the other is talking about. Usually statements start with 'I....' 'I was confused about that myself when I first read it.' 'I want to hear more about that.'
• Leading Query on Learner's Topic: Ask for clarification of aspects of the comment. Dig deeper into the student without bending or shifting it away to one's own agenda. Such responses include, 'Where does it break down?' 'Could you elaborate or give an example?' and references to others, 'Who can build on what she is saying?'