Empathetic Story-Telling & Active Listening

Through story-telling and active listening, students become not only responsible digital citizens but also community builders and healers.

Photo of Darius White
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To teach digital citizenship and responsible technology use in my English classes, I start with the fundamentals— teaching my students empathy through story-telling and active listening. To be responsible, constructive, and productive in their technology usage, my Sophomores and Seniors learn why we create stories, for whom we create stories, and how we create stories. Whether creating iPhone documentaries, conducting home interviews with their families, or making digital PSAs, my students create, consume, and analyze media with the intention of honoring or humanizing different voices, educating others, and combatting injustices. In assuming the dual role of consumer and producer, my students learn the difference between individual intent and communal impact when picking up that camera, posting that tweet, or selecting that song for our classroom playlist. Rather than fearing or banning technology, I invite tech as long as my students and I invite one another to ongoing, open dialogue about the uses and effects of such tools. Through the frameworks of empathetic story-telling and active listening, my students understand technology as a means for healing and building together as we share our experiences in creative and transformative ways.  

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Photo of John Faig

I love the idea of students as reports and documentarians! What techniques do you use to encourage active listening?