Practical Sheet

Active Listening

SHEET #14

“Talk is a necessity. Listening is an art.”
Goethe

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? 

Considering that what the child learns in community and cooperation will later be reproduced by the child in an autonomous and independent way, it is essential that the teacher/educator understands the importance and the need to know how to listen: to show interest in what is being said. In other words, adopt a careful and active listening. 

When children feel listened to, they immediately feel special and tend to adapt their attitudes towards themselves and others. They feel valued, less defensive, less authoritarian, more flexible and more open and willing to listen to others. Active listening is, therefore, an important vehicle to create greater empathy and strengthen the affective bonds between the protagonists of the educational process in the school environment, those being teacher/educator and student. This allows them to feel comfortable in spreading their experiences and emotions in a constructive way and facilitates a balanced relationship between obedience, understanding and mutual respect, strengthening the bond and promoting more assertive communication. 

Active listening thus becomes a strong ally, allowing the teacher/educator to lead and motivate the child in the construction of his/her knowledge through the constant search, investigation of senses and meanings about daily life, promoting a rich learning and a balanced and healthy development. In this way, the child assumes full capacity and power to be active, participative and interventive in everything around him/her – inside and outside the school – becoming a builder of his/her own knowledge and acquiring new learning through his/her own motivations. 

ACTIVE LISTENING – BENEFITS & ADVANTAGES OF THE TECHNIQUE: 

👉 Develops the child’s self-confidence and self-esteem 

👉 Allows to observe non-verbal language (body posture, facial expression, gestures, voice and breathing) 

👉 Facilitates understanding of content and feelings 

👉 Strengthens mutual bond and trust 

👉 Leads to recognition of authority without recourse to fear 

👉 Establishes empathy between the parties 

HOW TO DO IT?  

The ability to listen actively, that is, to really listen to what we are being told, to pay attention and assimilate this information, is a competence that can and should be learned and practiced.  

Some tips that may help teachers adopt an active listening posture: 

(1) remain relaxed, focus on the child who is speaking and maintain eye contact; (2) pay attention to non-verbal language/behaviour; (3) listen until the end; (4) visualize what is being said; (5) put yourself in the other person’s place; (6) draw conclusions and express the opinion at the end; (7) not thinking/plan an answer while listening to the other side; (8) giving feedback (positive reinforcement) and asking questions; (9) listening to the answer; (10) not always wanting to have the last word; (11) smiling in a timely manner; (12) avoiding distractions (mobile phones, parallel conversations). 

For children, the funniest, easiest recommended way to learn to listen without losing interest is through playful activities, toys and games to stimulate active listening in the child! 

💡 Activity 1     I’m the teacher! 

The teacher tells a story (simple plot) calmly from beginning to end and asks students to listen carefully. Then, since the students have already had contact with the story, the teacher retells it, but with the wrong words, exchanged or jumping excerpts from the story. The aim is for the students to detect and correct the wrong. Because in this listening game, the teachers are them! 

[It is also a very fun activity to do, using proverbs, ranting, lyrics of songs known to the students…]. 

💡 Activity 2      Dictation drawing 

The teacher chooses in a short descriptive text – number of sentences appropriate to the age level – and reads calmly to the students. As he reads, he asks them to draw what they are listening to. If it is a complicated text or one with many descriptions it may be necessary to repeat the reading a few times. 

💡 Activity 3     The magic letter 

For this listening activity, the teacher chooses a lyric that will be the magic lyric! For example, the letter d. During the reading or retelling of the story, whenever the teacher says a word beginning with the magic letter, the students do the arrangement beforehand (clapping, raising the arm, scratching the nose, etc.) 

The breaks put the students in a state of alert waiting for the magic letter to be pronounced. Then you can complicate the game by adding diphthongs, for example. 

💡 Activity 4     I went to the library and read… 

This is a very fun and dynamic activity that can promote going to the library and reading. It consists of starting with the phrase “I went to the library and read…” followed by the title of a book. For example: “I went to the library and read The White Bunny”.  

Then the child on the right should continue the sentence by adding another title and repeating the whole sentence. That is: “I went to the library and read The White Rabbit and The Shark in the Bath. 

Then you move on to the next child who should repeat what was said before and add another title. And so on. 

The game ends when the sentence is very long and becomes very difficult to repeat.