How Can We Improve Our Listening Skills – Active listening skills are essential to fostering an empathetic classroom. As mentioned in the six strategies for developing empathy in the classroom, we need to make our students listen and show interest in what they say and feel. As teachers, we talk a lot, but we also need to spend time listening. Having better active listening skills is vital to the health of our classroom community. So let’s look at some information about active listening and some tips for practicing it in the classroom.
Active listening is, as the name suggests, active listening. When you listen actively, you focus completely on what you’re saying and don’t think about what you’re going to say next. It means listening with a genuine desire to understand the speaker’s feelings and perspective without judgment. Additionally, active listening involves listening with all your senses. You can show interest in the speaker by using verbal and non-verbal cues such as nodding your head or saying “yes” to encourage the speaker to continue talking. By providing these cues, the speaker usually communicates more easily, easily, and clearly.
How Can We Improve Our Listening Skills
This article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education describes active listening as a sign of valuing what students bring to the table. It’s a way for them to show what they can do and to model the importance of listening to each other. Waterford.org highlights the benefits of active listening in the areas of communication skills, social-emotional development, and student confidence. Students are good at communicating ideas and feelings because they have heard others do it. People who develop active listening skills are less likely to feel frustrated and feel prepared and confident in their abilities. And active listening encourages mindful thinking, which can reduce anxiety and depression.
Listening Games For Kids — Encourage Play
If you can, find a quiet place where you can talk to a student without interruptions or distractions. Ask the student to say what is on their mind. When they do, try incorporating the tips below.
Once the student expresses a thought, summarize what they said to confirm that you understand and show that you are paying attention. Things you can say are “I hear you saying…”, “It sounds like…” or “If I understand you correctly…”.
Where appropriate, ask questions to encourage students to develop their thoughts and feelings. Try to avoid jumping to conclusions about what is being said. Instead, ask, “When you say _____, do you mean _____?” Ask questions like Their meaning should be clarified.
As a listener, show that you are engaged and interested by nodding, facing the other person, and maintaining an open and relaxed posture. Try to avoid paying attention to distractions in your environment or checking your phone. Also, pay attention to your facial expressions. Avoid negative expressions.
Steps To Effective Listening
If the student expresses negative feelings, try to validate them instead of questioning them. Try to think about why they feel the way they do, and put yourself in their shoes. You might say, “I can understand how that situation can be frustrating.”
Your goal is to understand your students’ point of view. Try not to interrupt your own ideas while the student is speaking. Feeling emotional, angry or upset is something you don’t want to do. You are a role model and students look up to you.
Let the student finish speaking before attempting to give advice. You need to make sure you understand them first. Moving too quickly to offer advice can have a negative effect.
Sometimes our students want someone to listen to them. As teachers we want to “fix” our students’ problems for them. But if our minds are busy coming up with solutions to them, we fail to really listen.
Active Listening: Techniques, Benefits, Examples
Active listening requires thought, practice, and a willingness to put your students’ feelings above your own. Using active listening skills can make a meaningful difference in a student’s life. To learn more ways to practice empathy and get tips, tools and ideas for integrating it into your classroom, join us at our Lunch and Learn on November 3, 2021. The webinar is free for all members and will be played on If unable to attend the live event. Also, don’t forget our self-paced Social-Emotional Learning online course. This $29 course offers more ways to build social and emotional practices in your classroom and comes with a free TCEA membership!
Diana specializes in leadership development and all things Google. She has worked as an instructional technologist, instructional designer, and online learning specialist, supporting districts in Texas and state government. Diana earned her Masters in Educational Technology from Texas State University-San Marcos. He also holds two bachelor’s degrees from Texas State, one in Spanish and the other in political science. This may seem obvious as we all can hear things around us but effective listening skills are very important but how many of us listen carefully?
In today’s fast-paced life, we are bombarded with many distractions. Cell phones, texting, social media, emails to name a few. We live in a world of instant responses that are available 24/7. A large percentage of us can’t really be honest and say we’re listening carefully to what another person is saying. Our thoughts wander to something else or we think of the next question we want to ask. It is important to keep in mind that we are all unique, internally we all have our own world map and by acquiring good listening skills we must respect the communicator’s view of his/her inner world. This article will touch on 10 areas that can help you develop effective and good listening skills.
To develop effective listening, think of a situation where you are communicating something and the listener is scanning the room, looking at their computer screen, or looking out the window. It’s like trying to hit a moving target! There are cultural differences but basically, maintaining eye contact with the speaker is a good ingredient for basic communication. Think of a time when someone is speaking across the room and it becomes instinctive to move closer to them to ensure eye contact. So, a good first step to improve your listening skills is to put away the papers, books, cell phones, and let the interlocutor talk to you, and be respectful. A blind person can send bad messages to the contact!
Listening Activities To Get Your Students Attentive & Ready To Learn
Now that eye contact is established, relax. It is not necessary to stare at the person, it is better to look away on occasion. The main thing is to pay attention. The verb attend has several definitions, including being present, paying attention, applying or directing oneself, being attentive, and ready to serve. Mentally block out distractions, background noise, activities. Don’t pay too much attention to the speaker’s accent or mannerisms. Too much focus can become a distraction. Finally, don’t let personal feelings or thoughts distract you. You may not agree with what they have to say, but it’s easy to miss a good point because you’re distracted at this point.
We can all judge, so keeping an open mind during the conversation is key here. Don’t try to judge the person or what they are saying, again this will distract from the main topic being discussed. One of the most annoying communicators is the “sentence hijacker,” the person who tries to finish the other person’s sentence. By doing this, you will end the relationship with that person. It is also important not to jump to conclusions. How many times have we seen press conferences where the journalist made a decision that did not reflect what the speaker said?
Remember that we all have our own map of the world, and try to create in your head what the speaker is saying. During a long conversation, try to pick key words or statements that help you retain information. Pay attention to what is being said. Sometimes the material can be so boring that you force yourself to refocus. It is a skill and takes practice.
Here is the golden rule. How often do we hear a parent tell a child that “interruption is rude”? By interrupting, you are demonstrating to the speaker that you are not listening to them. Apart from being rude, it shows a lack of self-control and a controversial attitude. You lost! You think you’re more important than them to the interrupting speaker, I mean it’s very interesting, I don’t care what you think, it’s not a conversation, it’s a competition and I’ll win!
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