This week I have started working with a primary school concerned at the listening skills of some of their students.

We have started a short TIA into this topic and began the process by looking at some research.

Listening seems to be one of those skills that teachers often complain about. How often do we say “they just don’t listen!” But how much time do we spend on actively developing the skills our students need to be better listeners.

Listening is important.

According to one estimate, humans typically spend 70-80% of our waking hours in some form of communication. Of that time, we spend about 9% writing, 16% reading, 30% speaking, and 45% listening.
A recent study also found that critical listening skills are associated with improved learning in mathematics and computer science at the undergraduate level.

One of the interesting discussions we had was around listening verse reading. A 2010 study that found students who listened to a podcast lesson performed worse on a comprehension quiz than students who read the same lesson on paper. One of the reasons for this is that about 10 to 15% of eye movements during reading are actually regressive—
meaning [the eyes are] going back and re-checking words for understanding.

During my quick research I found a couple of interesting tools and techniques to help develop listening skills. Give them a go with your stduents.

The DICTOGLOSS Technique

The first learning tool is Dictogloss Learning. The original dictogloss procedure consists of four basic steps:
Warm-up: This is when the learners find out about the topic and do some preparatory vocabulary work.
Dictation: This is when the learners listen to the text read at a normal speed by the teacher and takes fragmentary notes. The learners will typically hear the text twice. The first time the teacher read the text, the students just listen but do not write. The second time, the students take notes.
Reconstruction: This involves the learners working together in small groups to reconstruct a version of the text from their shared resources.
Analysis and Correction: The final step is where students analyze and compare their text with the reconstructions of other students and the original text and make the necessary corrections.


The HEAR strategy is a reminder of key listening skills and consists of four steps:
Halt: Stop whatever else you are doing, end your internal dialogue on other thoughts, and free your mind to pay attention to the person speaking.
Engage: Focus on the speaker. We suggest a physical component, such as turning your head slightly so that your right ear is toward the speaker as a reminder to be engaged solely in listening.
Anticipate: By looking forward to what the speaker has to say, you are acknowledging that you will likely learn something new and interesting, which will enhance your attention.
Replay: Think about what the speaker is saying. Analyze and paraphrase it in your mind or in discussion with the speaker and other classmates. Replaying the information will aid in understanding and remembering what you have learned.

Research Articles

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Teaching listening: The gateway to understanding |

Strengthening Relationships for Students in Grades 3-12 Through Oral Storytelling Activities and Projects | Edutopia

How to Facilitate Student Conversations | Edutopia

Are Audiobooks As Good For You As Reading? Here’s What Experts Say | Time

Training the Brain to Listen: A Practical Strategy for Student Learning and Classroom Management | Edutopia

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