An Educator’s Guide on Teaching Whole Body Listening

Young children need to learn to listen. In order to teach good listening skills to children there is a strategy called whole body listening. Basically, it is a way to get students to see what each part of the body looks like to show the speaker that you are listening. In this article, let’s focus on helping them learn about whole body listening.

What is whole body listening?

There are core listening skills to good listening. Listening is core to how we all communicate with others. It is an important skill set to help young people understand their own communication styles, and how they can tune into the various communication styles of others. Whole body listening is referred to as a person’s ability to not only listen with their ears, but with the rest of the body as well. This involves their body expression, their brain absorbing what they hear, and their eyes alert.

Why teach this to children?

There are many reasons as to why teaching this skill is important. First, it helps the child block out unnecessary noise from the world around them so that they can pay attention on what they really need to hear. Second, they can block out distractions from their own physical body. Finally, they can attain a form of emotional maturity due to being able to understand the context of what the person is saying, thus having better relationships with other people.

Recommended Activities to teach this skill

For privacy reasons YouTube needs your permission to be loaded. For more details, please see our Privacy Policy.
I Accept

Download the FREE Whole Body Listening Poster

It is good to show students how a whole body listener looks like. Download for free. Just click and in the upper right hand corner choose download.

Let them practice in pairs

Listening takes time to develop properly. With that in mind, let your students engage in activities that lets them talk to at least one of their classmates. Doing this will help them practice the proper listening technique while practicing their communication skills.

Introduce the social behavior map

A social behavior map is a chart that lets a student identify more about how they can understand a situation and how to proceed afterwards. For example, you can ask your students to interpret someone telling them “Good morning.” Then, you ask questions about what they should do if they misheard the speaker or what to respond afterwards through the map.

Throw a pretend or real party in the classroom

The last activity I can recommend to you to help your students learn how to listen properly is through throwing a party in the classroom. You can even do this on important holidays. The important part is observing how your students act when someone is speaking, where it would be you or them.

Read out books on whole body listening

Aside from Whole Listening Larry, you can introduce your students to the skill of listening by reading stories about it. One recommendation I can give to you is Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton which talks about a talkative boy, Owen, who gets laryngitis and starts listening to his peers. Another one is Cirocco Dunlap’s Crunch, The Shy Dinosaur where it asks the reader to convince a shy dinosaur to come out and play with his friends.

As they grow up, it is important that they learn the skill of listening so that they can interact with other people properly. With that in mind, make sure to keep an eye on them. Make sure to make learning their listening skills as fun-filled as possible so that they will be able to do it as naturally as possible.

Did you encounter any problems while teaching about whole body listening? Comment your stories down below!