You REALLY Listening?
Teaching is all about communicating, and communicating
includes listening as well as speaking and writing. You are probably
aware that one of the most important things in any healthy relationship
is communication. Not only should both parties be able to verbalize
their thoughts, questions, and ideas; but they should both be willing
to really work at LISTENING to each other. Effective teachers really
work at listening, understanding and responding to their students.
Not everyone has good listening skill and this includes
teachers. However, there are certain things that can be done to improve
listening skills. The concepts below may help you to become a better
listener and help you to model these skills to your students in the
classroom. The key concept is that successful communication involves
being an active listener.
be an active listener
- Be attentive.
- Use your face, voice, and body to show
that you are truly interested in what the other person is saying.
- Listen with an accepting attitude.
- Ask some questions to demonstrate that you are sincerely interested.
- Use reflections and restatements frequently to try to communicate
to the person what you think they are saying and test for understanding.
- Use encouraging words to show you are listening.
- "Mmm, hmm"
- "I see."
- "Uh, huh."
- Use nonverbal actions to show you are listening.
- relaxed posture
- facial expression
- relaxed body expression
- eye contact
- Use encouraging words that will invite them
to continue on.
- "Tell me more."
- "Sounds like you have some ideas
- "I'm interested in what you have to say."
- "Let's talk about it."
Things to avoid while being an active listener
- Do not interrupt.
- Do not interrogate. Limit the number of questions
you ask so that you are "drilling" them.
- Do not try to think of your response in your own head while you
- Do not change the subject.
- Avoid phrases like:
- "Are you sure."
- "You shouldn't feel that way."
- "Its not that bad."
- You're making something out of nothing."
- "Sleep on it. You'll feel better tomorrow."
- "That's a dumb question."
- Do not be judgmental, which will allow students
to feel that they can communicate questions and ideas.
"Listen and Learn!" (1999, November). Facilitator CHIPS,
"I Know You Hear Me, but Are You Listening?" (1999, Decameter).
Facilitator CHIPS, issue 6.