Is texting your main form of communication? How to have a conversation face-to-face

(This post is based on a session run as part of Ten Minute Tuesdays.)

Of course, we all have face-to-face conversations every day. But how skilled are we in the art of conversation?

Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

 

Here are the 10 basic rules Celeste has shared:

  1. Don’t multitask. Be present, be in that moment. Don’t be thinking about other things.
  2. Don’t pontificate  True listening means setting aside yourself, your personal opinions.
  3. Use open-ended questions. Who/what/where/why/how? Otherwise you’ll get yes/no answers (boring).
  4. Go with the flow. While the other person is talking, we remember things about ourselves and then we stop listening because we’re waiting for the opportunity to say our stories. Let them go.
  5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. Don’t talk about your own experiences. All experiences are individual. It is not about you. You don’t need that moment to prove how amazing you are or how much you’ve suffered.
  7. Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending and it’s boring. Don’t keep rephrasing your point.
  8. Forget the details. Don’t talk about the days, dates, names. People don’t care.
  9. Listen. If your mouth is open, you’re not learning (Buddha). Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, we listen with the intent to reply.
  10. Be brief.

Be interested in other people. Be prepared to be amazed.

Thanks to those who came to the session; it was great to see your spirited conversations following our discussion after the TED talk. Some photos for your pleasure:

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Comic Con(versation)

Seeing new books and helping select them for the library is always a winning activity and this week students from the Book Club, Library Assistants group,  some year 12 students  and a few keen teachers have all helped review some wonderful new comics, anime and graphic novels for the library collection. Titles chosen range from Super Heros (Welcome Wonder Woman and Ms Marvel), a few more in the Marvel Star Wars range, Blanket (this had been on my list for some time) Nimona,  The Fifth Beatle and many more.

As much as possible we try to purchase locally and from within Australia. All Star Comics based in Melbourne are one of our suppliers who are able to drop tubs of treasure for us to choose from.

 

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Students talking about the comics and popular series as well as sneakily reading a few titles before they are returned.

 

 

 

Out and about

Each year the staff and a small group of student leaders from the four selective high schools are given the opportunity to meet, this year it was Suzanne Cory’s turn to host. For many of us it was a longer commute than usual but we were so warmly welcomed it compensated for the early start.

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The keynote speaker, Mark Donaldson VC told of his experiences in the Afghanistan  war and what lead him into a military life. It was honest account and he stressed his ability to focus and think under pressure. These attributes literally lead to his survival, and to him saving the lives of others. It is hard to impress a room of over 500 teachers but he did it.

Mark holding his biography, The Crossroad, signed for a student.

It was with a great deal of pride students from Suzanne Cory also took teachers on tours, sharing the highlights of learning at their school.

 

The day included the opportunity for faculties to meet. For the library team it was especially delightful to visit another library, to share ideas and concerns. Paul Byrne, Head of Library at Suzanne Cory ran a practical session on encouraging wider reading using games and  fun activities. He had us participate in a student  activity,  matching the book cover with the blurb. Most of us will be taking this idea and using it this term as it resulted in lots of discussion and interaction.

Concluding the day we were challenged by Prof. Shirely Alexander, Vice Chancellor of University of Technology Sydney, who discussed the University’s radical change to their approach to learning. The motivation behind this change is a focus on the skills and knowledge students of the future will need for an ever changing workforce. We were amused by the list of job titles she showed us for jobs of the future and a few librarians among us could see us using our skills to become Nostalgists; helping people sort their collections/memorabilia and telling their story.

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We wish to extend our thanks to our host school and the many presenters and facilitators. Thank you also to those who attended from other schools – it was lovely to see you.

Delving into the history of MHS

The Library Assistants were recently invited to visit the Melbourne High School archives. The students who journeyed to the top of the school share their reflections.

Last week, I took part in the school Archive Tour, where we learned about the history of the school. We visited the Archive Room to look at historic items and climbed to the very top of the ‘castle’ to gaze at the spectacular views below. Among the many interesting things I learned was that there is an underground river tunnel under the school (rumoured to be used as a bunker during WW2) and that there was a fire at the back of memorial hall, which luckily didn’t cause much damage. Overall, I would recommend going on the Archive Tour to give yourself an insight into the history of the school.

Ilyas Year 11

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It was fascinating to explore a part of the school that isn’t accessible to us most of the time. The rooms and staircases were steeped in history; the musty smell was quite pleasing and to be on the very top of the school was quite an experience. Thanks to all who made this possible.

Jian Year 10

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It was like taking a stroll up memory lane, with all the nooks and crannies teeming with secret stairways, underground hideouts, and the workings of the now antiquated Melbourne High School campus. I can’t imagine myself being one of the students to ring a mechanical bell every period of the day, or opening up the floorboards in T30 to find a wondrous cavern, but these memories are the foundations of what we live and breathe today. In history it has gone down, as will we one day, and I can say that it was an honour to witness the substance and character that makes MHS what it truly is – a school of wonders.

Jainam Year 10

Luke, the volunteer school archivist, came in and gave us a tour of the archives. It was a very insightful experience, especially in regards to the history of the school. The most interesting part of the tour for me, were the architectural plans and models. The original architectural plans of the T Building showed many secrets of the school, including some of the passageways hidden below the school. The scale model of the N building was also of interest, with Luke telling us all about the missing room on the top floor. Overall it was a great experience, and I am grateful for him taking the time to give us a tour.

Bernard Year 10

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The archive tour was simply fantastic; it really felt like we were getting a bite of the history of Melbourne High. During the tour we got the chance to look at the architectural plans of the school. The things we learnt were fascinating! For example, did you know that during World War 2 trenches were dug on the school oval, because of fears that the school would be accidentally bombed by the Japanese? Did you know that the Q-store and the armoury were used to store sensitive and important documents when the school was occupied by the Navy from 1942 to 1944? I had never known that the history of the school was so rich! If you are interested in learning about the school come along on the next archive tour!

Sachila Year 9

A great experience uncovering the astonishing heritage of the Melbourne High School. Weather it may be the dark abandoned passages underneath the traditional building, or the mechanical old school bell, MHS has kept fascinating us and will keep fascinating us.

Het Year 10

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A very insightful and interesting tour about the history of the school. Also, the view from the top of the tower was astounding.

Taha Year 10

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The history was very enjoyable and enlightening, especially the access to the otherwise restricted areas of the school. We were able to learn about the fascinating history of the school and other interesting stories from its past.

Thanks to all who made the tour a possibility.

Aahidh Year 10

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“How to read a poem” by Mr Blair Mahoney on World Poetry Day #tenminutetuesdays

To celebrate World Poetry Day, Mr Blair Mahoney talked about “how to read a poem” today as part of our Ten Minute Tuesdays series at recess.

He started with the poem “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins:

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Mr Mahoney encouraged us to enjoy the poem without having to understand all of it.

“The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-

dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding

Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding

High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing

In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,

As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding

Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding

Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here

Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion

Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion

Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,

Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.      

Mr Mahoney read “Cartoon Physics, part 1” by Nick Flynn after he talked about poems sometimes having personal meaning for people at different times of their lives.

Children under, say, ten, shouldn’t know

that the universe is ever-expanding,

inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies

swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it

acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock

only he can pass through it.

Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds

should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,

ships going down—earthbound, tangible

disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes. You can run

back into a burning house, sinking ships

have lifeboats, the trucks will come

with their ladders, if you jump

you will be saved. A child

places her hand on the roof of a schoolbus,

& drives across a city of sand. She knows

the exact spot it will skid, at which point

the bridge will give, who will swim to safety

& who will be pulled under by sharks. She will learn

that if a man runs off the edge of a cliff

he will not fall

until he notices his mistake.

 

After sharing some tips for reading poetry out loud, Mr Mahoney read out “In the Park” by Gwen Harwood, demonstrating paying attention to punctuation and run-on sentences.

She sits in the park. Her clothes are out of date.

Two children whine and bicker, tug her skirt.

A third draws aimless patterns in the dirt

Someone she loved once passed by – too lateto feign indifference to that casual nod.

“How nice” et cetera. “Time holds great surprises.”

From his neat head unquestionably rises

a small balloon…”but for the grace of God…”They stand a while in flickering light, rehearsing

the children’s names and birthdays. “It’s so sweet

to hear their chatter, watch them grow and thrive, ”

she says to his departing smile. Then, nursing

the youngest child, sits staring at her feet.

To the wind she says, “They have eaten me alive.”

 

Thanks to Mr Mahoney for his engaging session and expertise. Thanks to all who came; I’m sure you got the most out of ten minutes of your recess on World Poetry Day.

10 minute Tuesdays have started!

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This year the library is running short topical sessions in the GLC at recess on Tuesdays. About 10 minutes long, the topics are varied, so we’re certain you’ll find something of interest. As a special consideration we are permitting food to be eaten during this session.

We kicked off the series last Tuesday with my presentation on “How to Spot Fake News” which was well received (as far as I could tell) – something we hear a lot about these days, sadly.

These sessions will sometimes take a lecture-style format, and other times they will be more interactive. They will all be short and sweet so please come and sample.

Next Tuesday March 14 we have a session from Ms Morton on “What’s your goal? Setting your study goals.

On March 21 we have “How to read poetry” by Mr Mahoney

On March 28 Ms Morton is running a session on “What’s the difference between homework and study?

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Image source: A Social Media Marketing blog

Blind Date with a Book #LibraryLoversDay

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February 14th is not only Valentine’s Day, but also Library Lovers’ Day. Libraries and their users all around the world are celebrating loving their library. Here at the MHS library, we decided to celebrate by having a ‘Blind Date with a Book’. You never know what you might check out…

First of all, have a look at what’s available…

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Look at all these lovelies (with a chocolate as a sweetener)…!

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So many to choose from!

“I think you’d like this one”

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No Angus, you can’t see through the paper!

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By recess, quite a number of dates had been taken out…

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At the end of the day only the desperate and dateless were left….

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Happy reading!

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Happy Library Lovers’ Day!