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Writing Instructor at University of Central Arkansas

Thank you for the excellent

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Thank you for the excellent tips. I especially like the idea of stopping while watching a documentary and having the students formulate a question or two. My students are currently watching a documentary, so I'm going to try it out immediately.

For an excellent speech on the importance of listening, I recommend Diane Rhem's 2007 commencement speech at American University. http://www1.media.american.edu/speeches/rehm.htm

Dance teacher, Portugal

As a dance teacher I use a

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As a dance teacher I use a lot of these tactics in my classes. I teach mainly 3-6 year old and the first thing I teach is look and listen to me. I think it is important to help children to learn how to listen instead of just telling them to listen. I could tell children just to point their toes but I do not, I teach them how to. Very good article, it will be passed on.

Third Grade Co-Teaching Intervention Specialist from Vermilion, OH

As an intervention specialist

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As an intervention specialist in a co-teaching third grade setting including students with deficits that affect auditory skills, I've found it useful to write or type a set of visual directions to accompany my verbal directions--then when students finish listening and say "what"? I refer them to the posted visual directions--nice strategy for my students who have trouble processing language.

Ninth grade Earth Science teacher from Brentwood,NY

I am new to Edutopia and I

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I am new to Edutopia and I have enjoyed scrolling through many of the blogs and articles offered. I too struggle with students listening to directions. Every time I give a unit exam the instructions are always the same yet so many ask me the same questions (directly after I give instructions). It is frustrating. I am anxious to try your suggestions, especially asking another student to explain. My kids love explaining to others. I will let you know how it goes!

Third Grade Teacher

Rebecca, I have enjoyed

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Rebecca,
I have enjoyed reading many of your blogs. This year I have a challenging group who struggles with listening. The five strategies you listed to get students to listen are practical. This year I have noticed that I have been repeating directions more than I have in the past. After reading your post, I have learned that my students rely on my repeated directions. I like your strategy, “ask three, then ask me.” I will be using this strategy tomorrow.

In my classroom we use collaborative pairs frequently throughout the day. I assign students a number (1 or 2). When I ask a question or give directions I always communicate to students which partner will talk first. Then I say switch, and the other student responds. As I walk around I absorb some of their answers and model active listening by saying: “As I was walking around I heard Johnny say….” Not only am I demonstrating active listening, but I am also letting my students know that I value their thinking. However, I would like to implement the 4 steps you have listed under strategy #4 to improve student listening.

Strategy #3 is another strategy I incorporate in my classroom. In fact today my students were learning about multiple meaning words. I read a sentence to them and they had two choices of definitions to choose from. After listening to the sentence students had to hold up one finger if they thought the first definition was used and two fingers if they thought the second definition was used. I also do thumbs up and thumbs down quite a bit.

I also use attention grabbers such as, “Hocus Pocus, Everybody Focus.” When students hear me say this they know I have something important to say. I never give directions or call on a student until all eyes are on me. I try to use different attention grabbers so that my students do no become bored with them.

I also play games such as Simon Says to review concepts. This week in geometry we are working on clockwise and counterclockwise turns. I have the students stand up and close their eyes. Active listening is a must if students want to remain standing. It is also a great way to informally assess student mastery of a concept.

Thank you for your ideas.
Courtney

8th grade English immersion in Belgium

Hello! Thanks for the great

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Hello! Thanks for the great article. Yes, it's one of the most important and most underapplied of the skills in an English class. My very favorite resource with a very big listening component is David and Peggy Kehe's Discussion Strategies (see my blog post about it at http://teatalksrobin.wordpress.com/category/books-that-change-lives/) The thing that I love most about the way it works is that 2 people read small bits to each other, and summarize what the other just said. It's very very fun for both and my classes are totally engaged ALL the time, even after a late night out the night before. By the way, I used this at the university level for Korean students of English conversation. Works like a charm :)

ESL Instructor / Ed-Tech Coordinator

What do you mean by holding

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What do you mean by holding them accountable? Accountable for their own listening?

I teach ESL and always have to assess a student's comprehension. ESL students don't know that they don't know, so it's important for me to check in with them throughout the lesson.

In an ESL class repetition IS important, but instead of ME repeating, I call on other STUDENTS to do that.

After I've given directions, I call on different individuals with questions like: "What are are going to do now?", "What are the steps I want you to follow?"; "When is this due?", "Why is this important to know?".

If a student doesn't know/understand, that's OK. In my class, it's completely acceptable to not know. The goal is to help them understand, so I ask another student. Then I go back to the student who didn't know and ask them if they understood their classmate, and have them repeat the directions. I'll do this until they've given a complete answer.

Yes, it puts the kids on the spot, but you only have to do it a few times for them to realize you're holding them accountable for listening. If you are consistent about doing this, it puts them in active listening mode.

ESL Instructor / Ed-Tech Coordinator

I have a comment about

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I have a comment about Strategy #1: Say it Once. Since I teach ESL, I try to make everything I say a listening activity. Repetition IS important for a second language learner; however, rather than ME repeating, I have THE STUDENTS do it instead.

For distracted and attentive students alike, I call on different individuals to repeat the instructions I just gave. I do this especially for important directions like homework and at the start of group/pairwork activities).

If a student doesn't know/understand, I ask another student. Then, I return back to the student who didn't know and have them repeat it. I'll keep doing this until I feel everyone has heard and understood the directions.

Works like a charm.

There's a new resource for

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There's a new resource for educators for developing the neglected, and all-important listening skills that maps to the CCSS and supports other important subjects. It's called Listen Edition (www.listenedition.com). It was just launched last year by a prominent NPR reporter and builds lesson plans around public radio stories. It's got all sorts of tools for teachers, and they are building the curriculum materials as fast as they can to expand to ELA, etc. Right now, they have a lot of content for Math and Science, and Social Studies targeted at middle school students. They will expand in grade levels and content, but a great resource for teaching listening in the classroom!

"Accountable," yes. Please

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"Accountable," yes. Please let me know how you plan to go about this. I'd be very interested in learning about what your training has had to say about holding kids, parents and teachers "accountable." And, "accountable" to what?

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