Listening Skills are Important for Smooth Classroom Management
Listening is an important learning and communication skill that is emphasized in the common core and 21st century learning standards. Becoming a good listener takes time and practice. By establishing listening routines in the classroom, you are letting students know that active listening is a priority. For English language learners, strong listening skills provide the foundation for learning a new language. In fact, those students who struggle with learning in auditory ways are in particular need of practicing and improving their listening skills.
Students need to be explicitly taught behaviors that go along with listening so that they can confidently handle communication situations in and out of the classroom.
To improve student listening in the classroom is to model good listening skills. Be a good role model: Listen attentively when you are spoken to. Your students will see what a good listener looks like when they see you model it. Look at your student, nod in appropriate places. If we want students to become better listeners, we need to be better listeners ourselves. Your listening behaviors provide an important model for demonstrating what engaged listening looks like.
Create an Anchor Chart
Brainstorm with your class what good listening looks and feels like. Create an anchor chart and decide together what you, the teacher, will do to get everyone’s attention. The points that you should also cover are eyes on the speaker, body language, and the ability of the listener to paraphrase what is said. Make sure students know that you will call on them to either paraphrase what you or other speaker has said or to answer a question about what is being discussed. Students might also have to write a listening response sheet in a listening center type environment.
A Talking Stick is a Native American tradition. Whoever held the talking stick was the only person who could speak at that time, while all others present had to listen silently and respectfully. When one person was finished speaking, they would pass the stick on, so everyone would have a chance to speak, but one at a time. This ensured that everyone’s point of view was heard and considered. This can be implemented during circle time.
After getting everyone’s attention. Have them do a series of silly directions. “Stand on your left foot. Put your right hand in the air. Run in place. Get out your writing folders.” It is a mini brain break and your transition will be smooth because of the silliness.
Once your students have mastering listening to classroom routines. You can work on mastering listening for learning with whole body listening.