Learning Goal

Students will learn active listening strategies and practice them in conversations.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lessons, students will be able to:

  • Describe different active listening strategies
  • Explain why conversation is important
  • Understand how it feels to be a speaker when someone really listens

Learning Summary

Research shows that people who have been taught to listen are better at it!

This lesson on listening begins with a mindful listening practice, followed by a lesson on active listening. After a hook of seeing how many details of a story students can recall, you’ll discuss the “moves” of active listening—summarize, body language, clarifying questions—students pair up and practice. One student tells the other about a great day they had recently while the other person practices listening actively. Students discuss how the listening activity went ending with personal reflection in their journals.

computer icon    Online Teaching Tips for Listening

Listening is hard! Talk about the challenges of listening to online lessons. Students probably have something to say about this!

For the Active Listening activity, teachers who are comfortable with break-out rooms should pair students. Alternatively, the teacher chooses students to answer the prompt for each component while modeling good Active Listening. Next, the teacher answers the prompts while the students practice Active Listening. For the Text vs Face-to-Face activity, have the conversation with a student while each writing on, then holding up a piece of paper. At times, turn your back to the camera or get up from your seat to model poor listening. Have students create a poster with the 6 components of Active Listening.

Begin the lesson by reading the description of each Active Listening component and ask what poor technique might look like, pause, then model. Then ask what good technique might look like, pause, then model. Have students create a poster with the 6 components of Active Listening. Students should practice Active Listening at home.

Lesson Plan


Additional Resources

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CASEL Competencies

Self-management: The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Classroom Teaching Example