In ‘Listening, Laughing and Leading’ Douglas Francis Mitchell shares his long journey to become a better listener. The themes are introduced with songs on guitar and banjo. Mitchell outlines how his experiences as teacher and principal led him to examine his listening skills.
After his retirement from his principal’s position, Mitchell continues his transformation from speaker to listener while working as Faculty Development Officer at the College of the Rockies and in Social Governance for the Ktunaxa First Nation. He shares what he learned about Indigenous listening from the Ktuanxa and from Dr. Laura Brearley’s ‘Indigenous Deep Listening’ project in Australia.
The following topics are addressed with research, theories, songs and anecdotes:
Listening Info You Probably Know: a review of listening research, types of listening and habits of poor listeners.
Listening to Ourselves: you can’t truly listen to others until you’ve listened to yourself. How do we listen to ourselves? Finding our “sweet spot” on the introvert-extrovert continuum.
Listening to Students & Colleagues: through Dr. Scott Peck’s Creative Upward Cycle of Growth, he explains how listening builds relationships with students.
SSLANT Program: a program that can be implemented in the classroom to encourage respectful communication among students. It also encourages shy students to assert themselves and to participate in classroom discussion. Reflecting on ideas from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, participants have an opportunity to discuss how these strategies could impact students.
Laughter: The Open Loop: explores how laughter unites people and creates a trusting climate. In a neurological sense, laughter represents the shortest distance between two people because it instantly interlocks limbic systems.
How Listening and Laughing Inform Servant Leadership: knowing who we are, what we believe and what we value, should inform our actions as leaders and our communication patterns.
Douglas Francis Mitchell
Mitchell enjoyed 30 years as teacher and principal. He received his B.Sc., B.Ed. and PGD from the University of Saskatchewan and a M.A. from San Diego State University. He has contracted with the College of the Rockies and the Ktunaxa Nation Council. He and his wife Patti have raised four children. He has presented ‘Songs for Resilience’ and ‘Listening, Laughing and Leading’ in Canada and the U.S. His musical career includes tours with ‘Three Fools From The Field’ and the ‘Lost Dawgs’. His songs have aired on CBC Toronto, Regina, Kelowna and Victoria. In 2014, he toured Alberta and Saskatchewan promoting his album ‘Laughter of the Heart’. His children’s album ‘Let Yourself Sing’ was released in 2017. With funding from Creative Spark, he presented song writing workshops for schools in the Kootenays.
Below are conferences where I have presented keynote addresses or group workshops. Two latest presentations were a half day session at the Calgary Teachers’ Convention and a full day workshop for Holy Spirit Catholic School staff in Sherwood Park.