Developing Listening Skills in the Classroom
If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see that we often stop to discuss what good listeners do. Developing good listening skills is of very real importance, and we should never assume that students know what to do in order to be successful in this area.
When discussing what good listeners do I break the overall concept down for students in this way:
- We discuss what good listeners do before, during and after a discussion/lesson.
- We have open and honest discussions; that is we discuss, play with and develop ideas and concepts together … and it looks something like this:
(A) Before “listening” students:
– accept that listening is an “active” (vs. a “passive”) undertaking
– are introduced to the concept & we find out what we already know as well as what they want to know
– understand the activity
– predict what’s going to happen during and after a lesson/activity
– know what they are listening for
– are preloaded with an understanding of the necessary vocabulary
B) While “listening” (during) students:
– give their full attention; demonstrate interest
– are aware of purpose; know what they are listening for
– know whether they are listening for the main idea, for details, for emotions, for opinions, to infer, to predict, to follow instructions, to evaluate, to emphasize, etc.
– search for meaning; try to make connections; try to relate in some way to what is being said/heard
– are encouraged to listen with and not ahead of the speaker/text
– are encouraged to listen optimistically be open minded – work hard, work smart, work “happy”
– stop and check their understanding; the goal is for students to learn to self-monitor
C) After “listening” students: