Active Listening Skills Increase Learning and Retention
- March 14, 2018
- Posted by: Yorktown Education Team
- Category: Student-Centered Learning
In today’s bustling, information, and technology age, there are thousands of things competing for our attention. It’s no wonder students are distracted with text messages, smart phones, social media, and keeping up with their friends. It’s a struggle to engage students in active listening when their minds are drifting on to the next thing before you’ve finished your sentence.
There are some strategies that we employ here at Yorktown Education, that can help students ‘hear’ what’s being said and retain the information.
• When a student speaks, restating what they have said ensures clarity. Using good eye contact is another assurance that what’s being said is being heard.
• By taking time to get to know each student and understand them as unique individuals, a better relationship is formed. Games or even questionnaires at the start of the school year help everyone get better acquainted.
• A good test of listening as well as engaging students in the conversation is to ask them to do a ‘thumbs up’ if they agree or a ‘thumbs down’ if they disagree. It’s a good measure to tell if they’re listening.
• Getting students to participate in the conversation in class means teachers talking less. Group sessions or mini-lessons help students engage with each other and offer the opportunity to talk within their group about what they’re learning.
• Technology in the classroom is a proven winner. Often a movie, documentary, or app that will teach students about what they are learning is a wonderful alternative to a class assignment.
• When students partner in a listening task, the instructor may pause to suggest they discuss what they have learned so far with their partner, then share it with the class.
• Everyone occasionally misses a beat when listening, so giving students a chance to pause and share with a neighbor about what they might have missed is better than interrupting the class.
• At Yorktown, we believe that making students accountable is a major part of learning, so rather than providing an entire study sheet or list of test questions, they may get only some of them. This instills the accountability they must develop to listen and retain information on their own.
• Asking for students’ questions and feedback is a valuable tool and one that can reveal good direction for what the class wants. This is effective teacher listening at work.
• Surprises are a great way to know if students are listening. If they are randomly called upon to retell what was discussed or asked to give their view on a topic, they are more likely to stay in listening mode throughout the class.