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Teach Students to Listen Better


Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset 21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Auditory Processing Expressive Language Listening Comprehension Social Awareness Attention Verbal Memory

Teach Students to Listen Better

Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.
— Stephen Covey

Effective communication relies upon speaking skills, but also good listening skills and responding to your audience appropriately.

How To Apply It!

  1. Give the speaker your full attention. This includes putting away or silencing your devices.
  2. Rather than focusing on what you want to say next, actively listen and respond to what the speaker is saying. This will ensure that your response is on track, and it is more likely that the dialogue will continue.
  3. If you are having difficulty staying focused on what another person is saying, try repeating the words in your head as you hear them.
  4. When appropriate, re-state what the person said by prefacing with words such as, "Just to clarify..." or, "To be sure I understood you, you believe that..."
  5. Acknowledge to the other person that you are listening and interested. Give a simple nod or "yes", or ask an occasional question, throughout the conversation.
  6. Be aware of nonverbal signals, so you can respond appropriately. If you are talking to someone whose eyes are scanning the room or feet are shifting, it probably means the other person is not fully engaged or needs to leave. You might then transition the conversation or politely offer a way out by saying, "Let's continue this conversation another day when we have more time."
  7. Offer a point of view. Sharing your perspective shows that you were listening and care enough to have your own response. It is, of course, always fair to ask for time to consider all that you heard. What is most important is that the speaker knows you were actively listening and thinking about what he told you.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Four of the top 10 skills in the World Economic Forum's list of most important career skills are directly related to listening to others (people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence and negotiation). Yet recent studies show that students have declining social skills as a result of social media usage. It is important that students understand the appropriate behaviors expected of them when listening so they can develop these key skills.