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Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults Paperback – November 7, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0787939632 ISBN-10: 0787939633

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass (November 7, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787939633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787939632
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,765,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Vella writes persuasively about the power of listening as the predominant tool for effective teaching.... This is a book that broadens cultural horizons, tears down superficial boundaries, and presents excellent practical ideas for all adult educators." (NACADA Journal)

"Anyone who wants to help make the world a better place should read this book. Jane Vella is an educator par excellence. But the message of this book is not for academics; it is for the people who will help things change on the ground. This book is about reality—real people, real situations, and what I call real development." (James P. Grant, executive director, UNICEF)

"Adult educators, because they are also lifelong learners, will continually cheer, "YES!" as they read Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach. The management and literacy trainers in our organization need this book as they prepare to become better facilitators of learning" (Margaret A. Price, director of field services, Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc.)

"Easy to read and contains a wealth of information on how we can develop the skills and attitudes that will make a difference in the way we teach our medical students, our residents, and our patients. Medicine is changing drastically and we need tools that help us return to the essence of our art. This book is one of them. Let's use it." (Rodrigo Escalona, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine.)

"The deep lessons...[this book] contains creep up on you and flower into joyful insights. Jane Vella is one of the most gifted adult educators I have known." (from the foreword by Malcolm S. Knowles, professor emeritus, North Carolina State University)

Review

Praise for the first edition of Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach

The book is highly recommended reading for every trainer in the Habitat for Humanity organization.

"The deep lessons [this book] contains creep up on you and flower into joyful insights. Jane Vella is one of the most gifted adult educators I have known."
--from the Foreword by Malcolm S. Knowles, professor emeritus, North Carolina State University

"The stories furnish 'real life' support for the effectiveness of this approach to adult learning in different cultures and give the reader the opportunity to vicariously experience popular education in action."
--Adult Education Quarterly

"Recommended for anyone interested in education and training at any level."
--Library Journal

--This text refers to the Digital edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This book should be on every educator's shelf.
L. Crane
This book is designed to help all adult educators embody and model a more effective way to facilitate actual learning.
JR Woodward
I read a colleague's copy and rushed out to buy my own for my personal library.
Trinice Moses

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Courtney L. Lewis on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was expecting the usual with this book - a little dry, one or two ideas I could apply to my work, maybe an anecdote. I had never read Jane Vella before! A Maryknoll sister and longtime worker for Save the Children, Vella has taught in 48 countries and for over 45 years doing community development work in incredibly varied and diverse situations. You don't have to be interested in community development though, to get the point of this book. While her stories are riveting (you constantly grip the book asking, "And then what happened?!"), her message is consistent - she maps out how she plans, teaches, listens, and reflects on all her teaching/learning experiences. I particularly appreciated her honest approach (she tells you stories of when things didn't go well) and her egalitarian approach to equalizing power in the classroom (she calls it "the death of the professor"). This would also be an excellent volume for anyone working with a culture not their own - Vella models how to truly listen to people's needs in their education experience and not impose what you think they need.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By JR Woodward on January 1, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach is designed to demonstrate the power and value of dialogue over monologue, and active over passive learning when it comes to educating adults. Vella demonstrates through real life examples how her twelve transcendent principles flesh out in a variety of specific contexts all around the world. This book is designed to help all adult educators embody and model a more effective way to facilitate actual learning. Not only does the book clearly explain and illustrate the twelve principles, but it also calls us to engage and analyze the principles along the way. This book demonstrates what active learning is all about.

A quick summary of the principles for effective adult learning:
1. Needs Assessment: The First Step in Dialogue
It is important to have a need-oriented approach to learning, where the scratch meets the itch by asking the www (political) question - "Who needs what as defined by whom?"
2. Safety: Creating a Safe Environment for Learning
Creating an atmosphere where learners feel safe: where they can trust in the feasibility, relevance and sequence of the learning objectives; where the learners can be both "creative and critical" in their response to the program in an affirming environment.
3. Sound Relationships: The Power of Friendship and Respect
The relationship between the teacher and student is vital. The more that the teacher can formally and informally create a relationship of mutual respect, the greater the motivation and learning potential of the adult learner.
4.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book as part of my master's degree program and have come to respect Jane Vella tremendously. She has a way of explaining, in simple yet powerful terms, complex concepts that are often ignored in training and adult education in simple yet powerful terms. Her practical examples help drive home the importance of her principles and by doing so, she is teaching by example. I also suggest you read other works by her, including "Training Through Dialogue." --Anthony Jones
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book demonstrates how to apply the principles of adult learning theory when teaching groups of adults. Even adults of cultures very different from your own.
My favorite line: "Teachers do not empower adult learners; they encourage the use of the power that learners were born with." (page 8)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Avid Indy Reader on May 19, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this as part of my Master's program and found it to be helpful overall. Vella explained many concepts that most might find difficult or intimidating through good examples of teaching. While I enjoyed her refreshing honesty at flubs and not-so-great experiences, I did not find her hearts and flowers emotionalism and pomp as exciting or stimulating.
Her writing style varied greatly within examples from over-blown academic writing to the best of simplistic styling. But it became too much to handle and made for slow reading.
Additionally, although I enjoyed the varied and multi-cultural feel of most of her examples, many in my class did not. They felt (wrongly, in my opinion) that those examples did not apply to them in any way because the examples were so far removed from the US.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John T. Henry on May 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jane Vella's, Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults challenged me to intentionally adopt several principles in my ministry to university students. I'm convinced these principles are useful for church ministries as well. That is why I recommend this book to you.

Jane Vella educates adults in many cultures and for many different groups, mostly community development projects. I'm very familiar with this kind of work and many of the places and people she writes about. One of the goals I have set for the summer teams of student interns serving in community development projects is for the students to have the best learning experience of their lives. Vella refers to this learning as the `quantum' concept, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I need to encourage my staff to participate in the process of writing their own job descriptions. I need to be more effective at listening and giving open questions, especially in the teachings I give. Those open questions need to be put to the `safe' environment of small groups. I have practiced this sort of thing at some level, but I see I need to be more intentional. For example, I have asked the question, "What was your best learning experience?" Sometimes, but not always, I send the participants to small group to discuss the question. I need to be more effective at defining learning tasks and follow through on them so that the participants truly participate in the learning process.

1. How can I adopt principles of Vella's dialogue education and quantum thinking?

Vella's key assessment principle, `Who needs What and defined by Whom' or `WWW', is what we will adopt in all of our student ministry programs. To do that, I need to keep a journal.
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