Developing Interpersonal Skills: Active Listening
There’s more to listening than meets the eye. Some people can just listen without paying attention, and some people can pour out their focus while they are listening. This type of listening is crucial in the development of our interpersonal skills, and here’s how to develop it step by step
Prepare Your Materials
Nothing can beat a well-prepared lesson even though the circumstances are quite difficult. Preparing for the medium that you’ll use will determine whether or not your lesson will be a success or a failure.
In listening, we need two things; a sender and a receiver. Your students will act as the receiver and your material will become the medium of the sender.
Consider using the following materials:
- Recording of a casual conversation between two native speakers of a particular language that you’d prefer.
- A podcast about a certain topic that’s appropriate for your student’s grade-level.
- A Ted-Talk about issues that concerns the well-being of the students.
- A short-story audio book
- A radio-drama that’s appropriate for your student’s age
Integrate the Values of Actively Listening
Good things comes to those who actively listens. People will tend to appreciate, understand, and comprehend better if they start to be active and listening.
On this part, make sure to emphasize how important active listening is. Ask them questions about what will it feel if someone doesn’t listen to them. Be creative and integrate your own values in life whenever you are sharing the experience.
Awareness is also an important factor in listening. Ask your students if they are well aware of their focus and habits whenever they’re listening to others.
These habits and distractions can range but not limited to:
- Using cellphones while others are speaking.
- Unnecessary mannerisms.
- Being easily distracted by external noises.
- Being distracted by internal noises (unconscious thoughts).
- Interrupting the speaker while trying to listen.
- Using appropriate gestures and body language.
Starting and Assessing the Activity
After explaining to them the things they need to do in order to perform active listening, use the activity that you have chosen beforehand.
Try to use different assessment tools as you go. Here are some examples:
- For the recorded casual conversation, try to make them enumerate details that are found in those recordings. That way, they’ll be able to pay attention to the smallest of details (dates, names, places, etc.).
- For the Ted-talks, let them process and rephrase what the speaker has been pointing out in his speech.
- For the short-story/radio dramas, let them explain the structure of the plot piece by piece.
This strategy can also be modified and utilized in many ways in order for your teaching style to adapt to the cultural diversity of your learners.