Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Listen up: whether as a student, an employee or in a relationship, the skill of listening and understanding is essential to learning. At tuition-free Dr. Joseph F. Pollack Academic Center for Excellence (PACE Academy), we learn these important skills using the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood seeks understanding through the skill of listening.
Three PACE Academy students are standing in the hallway and talking in front of a bank of lockers. They are all wearing gray PACE Academy polo shirts.

Understanding Opens Up the World

Pace Academy K-8 wants our students to recognize and achieve their fullest potential- our motto is “Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow”! To reach this goal, you need to understand others.

Habit 5 teaches us that good communication begins with empathetic listening. Empathic listening is listening with the sole intent to understand another person within his or her frame of reference. It requires both intent and skill. The key is to truly, honestly desire to understand the other person. We can probably all relate to not being listened to at some point in our lives. It feels terrible–this is the first step to empathy!

The productive and positive influence is to truly understand another’s point of view first. This practice expresses respect, mutual understanding, empathy, and courage. Great relationships, whether at home, school, or work are built on mutual respect. Loving and respecting others is an act of good listening because we tend to find better solutions to challenges in life when we consider the ideas from both sides to create the best idea. 

PACE Academy Understands

At our engaged tuition-free K-8 elementary school, we believe teaching listening skills is as essential as reading and writing skills. Empathetic listening says to the person that you care about who they are, what they are feeling, and are open to helping them. It is a simple skill with a profound impact that we can all practice in our day-to-day lives. 

Using the Leader in Me program which provides the practical application framework for the 7 Habits we regularly practice the following:

- I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. 

- I try to see things from their viewpoints. 

- I listen to others without interrupting.

When it comes to learning, listening is obviously a must! Students who practice good listening skills become great thinkers. They can’t understand academic skills if they are distracted and not following a lesson. Moreover, asking questions and getting clarification develops greater understanding and makes meaningful connections between subjects and skills. Habit #5 also covers how to assert ideas with confidence and respect.

Ready for a school that promotes compassion and support? Join us and enroll your K-8 child for free at PACE Academy today!

About PACE Academy 

Dr. Joseph F. Pollack Academic Center for Excellence (PACE Academy) is a tuition-free public charter school serving kindergarten through eighth grade in Southfield, Michigan. At PACE Academy, we empower our scholars to realize their fullest potential through meaningful educational opportunities. We partner with our families and community in preparing our scholars to become dynamic leaders in the 21st century by celebrating the importance of collaboration and accountability in all we do. Join our growing school, enroll today!