How To Develop Good Listening The First Month Of School

by Michael Linsin on August 30, 2014

How To Develop Good ListeningListening is always a problem with a new group of students.

You can count on it.

Dwelling on it or complaining about it—as many teachers are wont to do—is a waste of time.

The effective teacher is only concerned with what they can control. They’re only concerned with the actions they must take to fix the problem.

They meet their students where they are, and then show them the way up.

When it comes to developing good listening, the key is to speak in a way that will cause your students to tune in naturally.

It’s to make the act of listening to you a habit.

Here’s how:

Stand in one place.

Standing in one place encourages your students to focus on you. It settles restlessness. It calms excitability. It removes many of the distractions and obstacles that interfere with listening, so that your highlighted voice becomes the most prominent stimuli in the room.

Soften your voice.

Most teachers talk too loud, believing that it helps students pay attention. But the truth is, it does the opposite. It makes them passive and disinterested. It discourages them from looking in your direction and tuning you in.

Good listening is active. It requires students to lean in and follow your lips, facial expressions, and body language. It requires them to meet you halfway, to do their part, and to seek out meaning and understanding. The good news is that students do this intuitively when you soften your voice.

Stop repeating yourself.

Repeating yourself effectively removes any reason for your students to listen to you the first time. It grooves the habits of passivity and learned helplessness and weakens the power of your words.

When you say it once, on the other hand, and expect them to get it, you encourage active listening, engagement, and relevant, pointed questions.

Cut the fat.

The fewer words you use, the better your students will listen. This underscores the importance of staying focused and on topic, of providing only what your students need to be successful.

Keep your thoughts, fillers, and digressions to yourself. They only water down your message and lessen its impact.

Pause often.

Remembering to pause will give your students a moment to download the previous information. It also makes you more interesting. It infuses your words with depth, importance, authority, and when needed, drama.

Pausing also allows you to check for understanding. In time, you can become remarkably accurate assessing comprehension simply by pausing to take notice of their expressions.

Focus on doing.

When speaking to your students, as much as possible, focus on what you want them to do. This is inherently more interesting to students and immediately activates their visualization powers. They automatically see themselves in their mind’s eye doing what you ask.

Furthermore, successful classrooms are action-oriented. They’re productive and active and locked-in on completing their objectives. Even lining up to leave the classroom is an opportunity to do something well.

It’s About You

Many teachers can be overheard lamenting the poor listening in their classroom, but their solution to the problem rarely has anything to do with them. In their mind, their students are the problem.

So they harp on the importance of good listening. They put their frustrations on display. They show a complete lack of faith in their students by incessantly moving about their room, increasing their volume, and repeating their words.

But good listening isn’t about the students. It’s about the teacher.

It’s about speaking in a way that leaves no one behind, that empowers students to tune in, that provides the conduit through which active, tenacious listening becomes a habit.

If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving classroom management articles like this one in your email box every week.

Pin It

{ 8 comments }

How To Get Parents On Your Side

August 23, 2014

If dissatisfied, parents can be a source of great stress. They can question your methods. They can challenge your decisions. They can complain, make demands, and waste your precious time. Which is why it’s critical that you get them on your side, critical that they like you and trust you and support your program. There […]

Pin It
Read the full article →

How To Teach Classroom Management On The First Day Of School

August 16, 2014

Although classroom management will make up only part of your first day of school, doing it right is essential. Because it sets the boundaries within which inspired teaching can take place. It establishes an impenetrable wall, safeguarding your students from distraction, interruption, bullying, disrespect, and the like. To be most effective, you mustn’t ease your […]

Pin It
Read the full article →

How To Set The Tone On The First Day Of School

August 9, 2014

Of the many goals you have on the first day of school, none compares in importance to setting the proper tone for your students. It is the initial impression of your classroom, after all, that establishes its culture. It’s the feeling, the pace, the attitude, the mood, and the spirit of the experience that expresses […]

Pin It
Read the full article →

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Students Decide The Class Rules

August 2, 2014

Allowing students to come up with the class rules is a common strategy. And at first glance, it appears to be a good one. But dig deeper into the whys and hows of effective classroom management, and you’ll discover it to be a mistake. The idea behind the strategy is to provide students with a […]

Pin It
Read the full article →

The 4 Cornerstones Of Smart Classroom Management

July 26, 2014

Every strategy we recommend here at Smart Classroom Management falls under the heading of one of four core principles. These principles, or cornerstones, form the heart of what we believe to be the solution to the scores of behavior-related challenges facing teachers today. From disrespect to inattentiveness, and everywhere in between, their consistent application has […]

Pin It
Read the full article →

Why You Should Let Poorly Followed Routines Play Out

July 19, 2014

It’s an all too common compulsion among teachers. Upon noticing a class routine going off the rails, they immediately jump in to try and correct it. They remind. They warn. They attempt to squelch the problem before it gets out of hand. It makes sense. It seems like the right thing to do. But it’s […]

Pin It
Read the full article →

How A Simple Change In Thinking Can Improve Behavior

July 12, 2014

One of the reasons difficult students misbehave is because their teacher expects that they will. They assume they will. Which causes the teacher to behave in such a way that antagonizes the student and reinforces their bad behavior. To combat this phenomenon, you must do the opposite. You must assume henceforth that your most challenging […]

Pin It
Read the full article →