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Listening Skills

Suggested Teaching Method: Lecture, Demonstration

Quicklinks:   View Syllabus   |   View Listening Skills in the Classroom   |   View Active Listening & Negotiations

How To Listen Before Acting

Objective

  • Teach students to listen and learn.

What the students should know at the end of the lesson

  • Skills needed to listen and learn
  • Different ways to listen
  • Ignoring
  • Pretending
  • Selective
  • Attentive
  • Empathic
  • How to make sure that you understand a problem

Suggested material needed to teach subject

Make copies of the article on effective listening and give to each student for reference. Also, put the students in a circle whisper something to the first person and have each person whisper to the next. When the last person receives the message have them respond out loud. Compare the start and ending message for accuracy. Discuss the results.

Key items or concepts to cover

Listening leads to better understanding.

Listening Skills in the Classroom

The average college student spends about 14 hours per week in class listening ( or perhaps I should say "hearing"--there is a difference!) to lectures. See if you can improve your listening skills by following some of the strategies below:

  • Maintain eye contact with the instructor. Of course you will need to look at your notebook to write your notes, but eye contact keeps you focused on the job at hand and keeps you involved in the lecture.
  • Focus on content, not delivery. Have you ever counted the number of times a teacher clears his/her throat in a fifteen minute period? If so, you weren't focusing on content.
  • Avoid emotional involvement. When you are too emotionally involved in listening, you tend to hear what you want to hear--not what is actually being said. Try to remain objective and open-minded.
  • Avoid distractions. Don't let your mind wander or be distracted by the person shuffling papers near you. If the classroom is too hot or too cold try to remedy that situation if you can. The solution may require that you dress more appropriately to the room temperature.
  • Treat listening as a challenging mental task. Listening to an academic lecture is not a passive act--at least it shouldn't be. You need to concentrate on what is said so that you can process the information into your notes.
  • Stay active by asking mental questions. Active listening keeps you on your toes. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you listen. What key point is the professor making? How does this fit with what I know from previous lectures? How is this lecture organized?

Active Listening & Negotiations

Active Listening Rules

  1. Put all your attention on what the person is saying.
  2. Restate their most important thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
  3. Don't interrupt, correct mistakes, give advice, or tell you own story.
  4. Give the person time to speak. Don't immediately fill the space.
  5. Use non-verbal gestures to show support.

Active Listening Styles

  • ENCOURAGING - using neutral words to help another person say more about the situation and how they feel.
  • RESTATlNG - saying in your own words what you thought you heard the other person say, including their feelings and needs.
  • CLARIFYING - getting more information, asking nonjudgmental questions.

De-escalators

  1. Stay cool, calm and on center.
    • Don't let the other person throw you off balance and force you into fighting back or escalating the conflict.
    • Avoid fast moves, swearing and defensiveness.
    • Stay in control of yourself.
    • Breathe slowly and let any negative words or feelings move past you.
  2. Give the other person some space:
    • Don't back them (or yourself) into a corner, give them a way to "save face."
    • Look for common interests, common ground.
    • Use a cooling off period. Stop and think about the situation.
    • Let yourself feel the problem before reacting instinctively.
  3. Listen to the other person.
    • Start out listening, then talking.
    • Say you want to solve this problem together. Let them know you don't want to fight, but want to understand.
    • Listen for why they are upset and what they need.
  4. Set your limits with non-blaming statements:
    • If you can't listen, then use non-blaming statements to set your limits and communicate your needs.
    • "You messages" push people's buttons and make them defensive.
    • State how you feel.
    • Use descriptive words without "you" in it, like-"This is really a problem" or "I think we should slow down here before we start fighting."
  5. Lighten things up:
    • Fights and abuse often occur when things get too serious.
    • Make a joke to break the cycle of unproductive conflict, like: "Maybe we should eat before we go any further."
    • Keep a light touch, but don't use humor to avoid your problems.
  6. Admit your part:
    • Saying "sorry" or "excuse me" can help diffuse a situation. It doesn't have to mean that you are wrong and they are right.

Negotiation Steps

  1. Agreeing to Solve the Problem
    • Ground Rules (verbal or non-verbal)
      No interrupting
      No name-calling
      No put downs
      Tell the truth
    "I have a problem I need to solve with you."
  2. Telling Your Stories
    • Use I Messages
    • Be specific about what happened
    • State how you feel
    • Listen to the other person
    " I was in line first. I'm mad that you cut in. I've been waiting a long time to talk to the teacher. "
  3. Clarifying Needs
    • State your needs
    • Find out about the other person's needs
    • Discover any common interest
    • Separate facts from feelings
    "It's not fair; I need to be treated fairly."
  4. Exploring Win-Win Solutions & Reaching an Agreement
    • "What if we .... "
    • "We could ... "
    • "Maybe we should try to..."

"I" Message

Use "I" Message assertive communications as an intervention tool to control behavior problems before acting-out occurs.

  1. Tell the person "I have a problem."
    • This way you take ownership of the problem without placing blame on the other person(s).
  2. Make a "non-threatening" description of the problem or behavior.
    • It is critical that while describing the problem or behavior that you remain calm and collected.
  3. Tell the person(s) how you feel about the problem or behavior.
    • This serves to make the problem more personal to you and the other person(s) involved.
  4. Let Reality be the disciplining agent by asking two questions:

    a). "If you continue this behavior, will it make our relationship better or worse?"
    b). "Do you want our relationship to get better or worse?"

    For Example:

    1. "I have a problem."
    2. "I have noticed that you argue with people when they ask you to quit (the problem behavior)."
    3. "It makes me feel bad when you do this because if you continue to act in this manner (the problem behavior), I must warn you, you won't be able to earn all your points."
    4. If you continue (the problem behavior), will it make our relationship better or worse? Do you want our relationship to get better or worse?"

Conclusion

People come into contact with conflict on a daily basis. Students can learn that conflict is not necessarily synonymous with anger or violence. Hopefully the various tools in this lesson will give students an array of options to handle conflict.

 

 

Overview & Purpose: What the students should know at the end of the lesson Skills needed to listen and learn Different ways to listen Ignoring Pretending Selective Attentive Empathic How to make sure that you understand a problem
Objectives: Objective Teach students to listen and learn.
Teaching Method: Classroom discussion, demonstration
Materials Needed: Suggested material needed to teach subject Make copies of the article on effective listening and give to each student for reference. Also, put the students in a circle whisper something to the first person and have each person whisper to the next. When the last person receives the message have them respond out loud. Compare the start and ending message for accuracy. Discuss the results.
Prepared By: Greg Cummings