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The Art of Listening 

Paula Zhou


  • Can the art of listening really change our relationships?
  • How often have you been faced with a highly emotional child who is unable to breathe, let alone hear your reasoning, logic or consoling?
  • Does your child’s upset cause you to lose your patience? (“Why are you still crying?”)
  • Do you use distraction so as to try to curtail your child’s upset? (“Let’s go read a book!”)
  • Do you resort to promises of rewards -aka bribery (“If you don’t cry, I’ll get you some candy!”) or threats of punishments (“If you keep crying, we will not go to the park!”) in an attempt to control your child’s emotions?
  • How do you feel when you have a problem and someone bombards you with suggestions/solutions and advice? (“You should …..!”)

When we are faced with a child (or other) who is clearly upset, our first response should always be to mindfully recognise that the child is in the ‘problem zone’. This does not mean that we ignore the child’s problem, on the contrary, it gives us indication of what we should do, as the responsible, caring and effective adult, to help the child

By actively listening to the child’s problems, we acknowledge that we have heard what the child has said and understand and accept how s/he feels. Through this empathic display of human connection, the child (or other – this understanding of how the human brain works is true to all human beings) is able to tame the primitive, survival area of his/her brain that has ‘hijacked’ his/her ability to listen to any reasoning, logic, consoling or other.

Join Paula in this hands-on, skills based session that introduces the beautiful Art of Listening!


Paula Zhou

An advocate for respectful and effective communication, Paula has worked in Early Childhood education in China for more than 20 years. An experienced Montessorian and teacher trainer for the 0-6 age group, Paula is also a parenting specialist/family consultant and a licensed Gordon Training International Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) Instructor. A sought after speaker at international conferences, Paula connects with her audiences through humour and anecdotal experience, drawn from both her years of working with children and their families as well as from co-parenting her own, cross-cultural family. Paula is intensely fascinated by the mind and the study of human behaviour and is an ongoing student of Interpersonal Neurobiology. She is also a children’s yoga and mindfulness guide and believes strongly in the importance of arming our children with the skills of mindfulness and emotional regulation.

A TEDx speaker, Paula’s recent passionate talk on the importance of listening to children has been shared extensively throughout the world. Paula is the co-founder of Insight Education, a consultancy practice with a mission to nurture the healthy growth of every child through supporting schools, families and communities world-wide and currently works as the Director of Programs for Higher Ground Education/Guidepost Montessori, China.

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