IAGC Conference Sample

REALLY LISTENING: A MISSING INGREDIENT?

By Jean Sunde Peterson, PhD
Professor emerita, Purdue University

Listening to bright adolescents talk about “growing up” led me to my second career—in counseling and

counselor education (educating counselors), with a research emphasis on their social and emotional

development. The transition to the counseling field was relatively easy after 20 years of teaching English

and writing and guiding a talkative yearbook staff after school for five of those years.


In my IAGC conference presentation I will encourage parents and educators to apply rudimentary

listening and responding skills whenever a one-down (learning from), instead of a one-up (teaching,

directing, advising) mode is appropriate.


Specific guidelines can make listening and responding more “intentional.” We will focus on 7 basic skills,

often the first skills taught in counselor preparation, and several general admonitions. Some of those

admonitions may surprise participants. I’ve long believed that these basic skills and guidelines should be

shared routinely with parents and educators.


In the final parts of the session, I will share important information about privacy and other ethical

considerations, listening challenges specific to parenting and teaching, and the need to be alert for

mental health concerns.


Competent listening is hard work, whether we are on equal footing with a peer or, as with students or

with our own children, we have unequal power. Regardless of our role when listening and responding,

the focus is on others’ concerns, not our own—one of the most challenging aspects when interacting as

a “helper.”


Register for the 2022 IAGC Virtual Conference to join any of Dr. Jean Sunde Peterson's three sessions.


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