This year I am lucky enough to teach a truly gorgeous group of year 1 and 2 students. However, no matter how lovely a class of children are, there are so many things going on in their world that they often ‘switch off’ and honestly need to be taught HOW to listen to instructions.
Last year I began teaching the concept of being active listeners and it was amazing how quickly they picked it up. After introducing the 8 individual key areas (eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, body, brain and heart), I would have students demonstrate exactly what being an active listener looks like. Role playing is such fun! Also by using positive praise such as ‘I can see Jack is using wonderful eye contact ‘ etc on a regular basis, it really did help to remind students about the correct way to listen respectfully.
Now I’m not saying that my kiddos are brilliant listeners all the time (it takes A LOT of work for some!), they are now taking big leaps in being respectful and appropriate listeners.
If you’d like a set of the Active Listening posters I created, click on the picture below.
Ok, ok, so what if students are struggling with their listening during instruction time? I find that a lot of my younger students are so excited to be in class that sometimes they don’t quite catch all of the instructions to a task and I will hear ‘I can’t remember what to do. Miss, what was that last bit?’ Or ‘Can you tell me again what to do?’
To put the responsibility back to the students for their own listening behaviour, I created a set of ‘Ask 3 Before Me’ reminder posters. A simple concept – if a student hasn’t heard all of the instructions, they need to go and ask 3 responsible classmates what the expectation is before they come to me to ask. I assure students that absolutely they can come to me at any time – but first they need to step it up and address the issue themselves, rather than expecting me to solve it for them. If they didn’t hear, ask a peer. I also use a quick hand signal of holding up 3 fingers – a voice saver and reminder to do what needs to be done.
If you’d like a copy of the free posters, just click on the picture below.