A Lesson on Mistreatment and Listening to Understand

When a simple connection activity bombs… you roll with the resistance and connect anyways.

So… this happened while teaching this week…

This week in our class, we were tasked with exploring the different types of mistreatment and forms of abuse commonly reported amongst older adults.

For our connection activity, the class was divided into two groups. Group A went into hallway while Group B remained in the classroom.

Group A was instructed to return to the classroom and pair up with someone from Group B and to tell them something important to them (not too personal or deeply detailed). For example, I told them that they could talk about a passion, hobby, pet, or person important to them… just something important.

Group B was instructed to use nonverbals (like fidgeting and lack of eye contact) to convey that they weren’t listening. Maybe it was too harsh… many of them looked at me with concern as I read out their task.

The room was silent once I reunited Group A and Group B. Then the laughter… No one wanted to start sharing. It got real awkward for a bit but then it started again… More laughter. A very small bit of sharing.. but genuine sharing as I hovered around.  It was beautiful to watch the honest connections form during such a small part of our class time.

We went on to explore some of the more obvious and devastating forms of abuse… physical, financial, etc. Ultimately though, I feel that we all saw the linkage and the connection that was being made. Mistreatment is strongly associated with disrespect. They knew what I was doing 😉

man wearing gray sweatshirt and headphones
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

One thought on “A Lesson on Mistreatment and Listening to Understand

  1. Great way to make the learning experience more ‘real-world’ for the students. And remember: Growing pains help us learn as educators 🙂 I love that the students laughed at their own nervousness and willingness for share. In the end, they got what you were trying to do and that’s a happy ending!


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