Seek First to Understand…
November 29, 2018
Seek First to Understand…
In Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Habit #5 is “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”. Heart Tutoring’s Program team recently spent the weekly training time seeking to understand more about our students, most of whom are growing up in various levels of poverty.
“Locate a resilient kid and you will also find a caring adult—or several—who has guided them.”- Invincible Kids, U.S. News & World Report
“School is the single context within which the combination of skill and relationship development occurs on a regular basis.”- Adolescents at School, Sadowski, 2008
We discussed the quotes above and the role relationships play in learning and the importance of the one-on-one relationships Heart volunteers create.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Drawing from Ruby Payne’s book, “A Framework for Understanding Poverty”, we talked about the long-term impact of relationships. It is critical that those relationships are built on emotional deposits and that emotional withdrawals are avoided.
Deposits include seeking first to understand, keeping promises, kindness, courtesies, clarifying expectations, apologies, and openness to feedback. Withdrawals would include seeking first to be understood, unkindness, violating expectations, and rejecting feedback.
Heart Tutoring volunteers have plenty of opportunities to make deposits in our students! Every day, we see tutors thanking students for working with them (courtesies), explaining changes in schedule (clarifying expectations), showing up as promised, and taking interest in our students’ day/week/life (kindness).
Final Thought: Relationships Count
“When students who have been in poverty (and have successfully made it into the middle class) are asked how they made the journey, the answer nine times out of ten has to do with a relationship—teacher, counselor, or coach who made a suggestion or took an interest in them as individuals.”
Excerpt from A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne, 2005
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