Four Ways to Improve the Way Students Listen
As the mother of three teens, I see the death of the listening
culture everytime my kids get in a car with me. It is not that
they're not listening. It's just that they are only listening to
their own ipod!!! HELLO!!!
And not that I am not a music lover. I enjoy listening to my own
ipod, that I have named, EdVenture Girl... but the chance to be
together as family presents great opportunity to listen to each
other, and that's not happening much in our media-soaked world!
So when I think of my kids in a classroom, not a car...how can
their teachers hope to get them to listen when I can't?
Maybe my educator side will win. At any rate, here's some
thinking on getting kids to listen in the classroom..
Now that may seem contradictory to what I just wrote...but
really, it's not. In a classroom, music played for the entire
community, can help kids get ready to learn. Playing music while
learners write or while they problem solve in small groups
really helps connect students' thinking. There is much research
about the metacognitive benefit of music in the classroom, not
too much on the ipod research for learning as yet! All I know is
choosing the right music, by sound, lyric or theme takes the
kids to a high interest level.
Punctuate your lessons with short connective moments in pairs
where kids paraphrase to each other what they have heard. Doing
this in a team ,orally or with writing, can spark entry into
discussion as one team presents its paraphrase to the group and
then asks for another team to share theirs.
When I read aloud or am presenting a concept in a lecture, I
have taught kids to do sketches of what they hear and
understand. It is a variety of Mind Mapping that helps students
to access their thinking in the moment. They save the
thinking...then return to it for further study. And ,yes,..Keep
this in a notebook!
Just valuing eye contact and stating this regularly helps
students to attend. Every lesson I teach features several
messages to that regard. Eye contact is central to processing
information for some learners. Kids like it and they work hard
to give you their eyes to signal listening!
These are but a few quick ways to counteract the slide into
pasivity in a classroom...use a few and you will see the
listening factor rise...it'll be music to your ears!!!