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Active/Reflective Listening Skills

Main Core Tie

Adult Roles And Responsibilities
Strand 2 Standard 1

Additional Core Ties

Adult Roles and Financial Literacy
Strand 4 Standard 1




Students will identify types of communication styles, explain active/effective listening skills, and demonstrate the ability to use active listening skills.


Instructional Procedures

Primary Vocabulary

  • Reflective Listening
  • Active Listening
Use Vocabulary worksheet (pdf).

Option A:
Form a circle; sit "cross-legged" on floor. Give each person a penny or a piece of candy. I'm going to read a story (The Wright Story (pdf)), and every time you hear any word that sounds like right or left, then pass the penny to the person on your right or left. Start reading slowly, and then speed up. After a few passes stop the story and ask how they are doing? Make sure everyone has a penny and keep going.

Process Questions:

  1. Listening is important. Was it hard to listen and pass the objects at the same time?
  2. It is difficult when you are not concentrating on what is being said because you're busy doing something else.
  3. Did you get frustrated when you or others couldn't keep up with the story?
  4. How much of the story can you remember?

Option B:
Have a student stand in front of the room and give directions to the other students about how to draw a picture. The student giving directions can not use their hands to illustrate how to make a certain shape. They are to give direction continually so that the class does not have time to compare their drawings. They are not to answer any question(s) from the other students.

Process Questions:

  1. Listening is important. Was it hard to listen and draw the shapes?
  2. Did you get frustrated when you could not ask questions? Why?
  3. How much of the picture did you get right?

Option C:
The teacher should come in the classroom and begin taking roll in a different language. (If you do not know a different language, just make up mixed-up words that the students will not be able to understand.) Relate to students that this is the way communication is. If you do not speak the same language with the people you associate with, you are in for some trying times.

Option D:
Or read the book, Yo! Yes!, by Christopher Raschka, ISBN #0-531-05469-1 or the book The King Who Rained, by Frea Swynne, ISBN#0-671-66744-0, Half Moon Books, Simon and Schuster.

Content Outline, Activities and Teaching Strategies
(All options do not necessarily need to be taught. Select ones to cover standards and objectives and according to your district policies.)

Option 1: Effective Listening Skills
Use the Listening Quotes Powerpoint and the Effective and Active Listening PowerPoint.

Have two students stand in front of class. Both will be reading aloud at the same time. One should be reading from an encyclopedia, the other from a children's book the class would enjoy. After having the students read for a couple of minutes, discuss with the class:

Whom did you listen to? Why?
How did you decide who to listen to?
What distractions were there in the room?
Is it hard to concentrate when you are hearing two conflicting messages?

If we want to be effective at communication we must learn to be good listeners. Review the Effective Listening Skills Transparency (pdf) with the class.

Option 2: Listening Blocks
Use the Listening Blocks Powerpoint.

Discuss the transparency Listening Blocks (pdf) with the class. Have students complete the Listening Activity as a class or as individuals.

Option 3: Active Listening
Use the Active Listening PowerPoint.

Review the information Active Listening Skills and Top Ten Listening Skills (pdf) with the students.

Option 4: How Well Do You Listen?
Have students complete the questions on the worksheet How Well You Listen (pdf). Discuss the findings as a class.

Option 5: Introduction to the Communication Unit
Refer to the document Teacher Information Effective and Active Listening (pdf).

Simple Communication Guidelines

  1. Make communication positive, clear, and specific.
  2. Recognize that each individual sees things from a different point of view.
  3. Be open and honest about your feelings and accept other's feelings.
  4. Ask question for clarification on an issue.
  5. Learn to Listen. Allow time for the people to talk without interruptions.

Option 6: Video
Show the Video: The Laws of Listening by Learning Seed After the video discuss the "Effective Listening Skills" vs "The Seven Laws of Listening". The attached Art of Listening Guide (pdf) for the video contains teacher information which includes activities and questions for a classroom discussion.

VHS LS-1158-07-VHS ISBN 1-55740-818-1
DVD LS-1158-07-DVD ISBN 1-55740-817-3

Option 7: Active Listening Activity
Use the Stop, Look and Listen worksheet (pdf).

Option 8: Practice Listening Skills
Have students complete the Reflective Listening Skills Practice Worksheet (pdf).

Option 9: Video
To illustrate listening roadblocks show the clips from the movie, You've Got Mail and have students answer the You've Got Mail worksheet (pdf).

Option 10: Performance Objective
Demonstrate the ability to use two constructive communication skills. Have the students complete the listening activity Listening Triads (pdf).

Effective Communication takes practices. As always, balance is the key to effective listening. The conversation between the message sender and the message receiver is a delicate dance. And even though your goal may be to simple hear the message, it requires give and take from both parties, from the beginning stages of the communication process down to the last word.

What is one thing you learned about active listening today that you can use in your communication? What one thing about active listening are you going to work on today?

Created: 07/04/2011
Updated: 02/05/2018