Tag Archives: listening skills

The Teach & Tell

The “Teach & Tell”

If you were  a fly on my classroom wall you would see my students presenting a “Teach & Tell” three times a year (once per term). This activity is simply a variation of a favourite for many students in the primary grades: “Show and Tell”.  This practice provides students with an opportunity to share individual areas of expertise/interest & to  develop their speaking and listening skills as well.

A “Teach and Tell” requires that students teach their classmates about something that is of interest to them. Students tell the class about something they like or do well, and then teach the class about, or how to do it. Presentations must also include some sort of visual model (a poster, model, or related item).

This activity encourages students to make organized, engaging oral presentations, while developing effective speaking and listening skills. The Teach and Tell is also a great way to increase class interconnectedness as students learn important things about one another’s interests and skills.

Some of our most memorable presentations last year were “The Basics of Football”, “Why Is It That Birds Can Fly?”, “How Magnets Work”, “No Bullies!”, “How to Make The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!”, “How to Add and Subtract Using an Abacus”, ”Motorcycle Maintenance”,  “Sudoku Puzzles”, and “How To Play King’s Corner and Solitaire”.

Students have a tremendous amount of knowledge and many outside interests to share. The “Teach and Tell” gives them an opportunity to be successful academically using something that they love to do and do well.

Developing Listening Skills in the Classroom

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:

– discuss what they heard/understood
– ask questions
– summarize, analyze, evaluate; share facts & form opinions
– build on the ideas presented as well as on the ideas of others