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Integrating Mindfulness and Reflection in the Teaching and Learning of Listening Skills for Undergraduate Social Work Students in Singapore

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This paper illustrates how mindfulness and reflection exercises can be integrated into the teaching and learning of active listening skills, an integral component of relationship skills training. This pedagogy was first trialled on a small cohort of 15 students and the improved version was applied with a second cohort of 53 students. Through the mindfulness and reflection exercises which were built in throughout the module, students identified the three most prominent ‘bad habits’ that hindered active listening as ‘mind wandering’, ‘multi-tasking’ while listening and ‘thinking ahead’. The mindfulness and reflection exercises appeared to bring the usually-unnoticed ‘bad habits’ into awareness so that a conscious effort could be channelled into preventing them from interfering with relationship building. This expanded awareness facilitated the strengthening of ability to observe oneself in interactions. This paper proposes a combination of exercises that expand students' awareness of their own habitual listening styles, together with skills training through conventional methods of role play, video-taping and skills drilling, in order to strengthen motivation to change and bring about deeper learning.
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Keywords: Expanded Awareness; Mindfulness; Pedagogies; Reflection; Skills Teaching

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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