By the time students get to upper elementary and middle school, lessons devoted to listening skills are few and far between. As curriculum demands rise, teachers are stretched for time and listening standards are often pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Understandably, devoting an extensive amount of time to teaching listening skills is not a reality for teachers in the upper grade levels, but there are several creative ways to squeeze it in amongst the rest of your curriculum.
Listening Skills Survey
A listening skills survey gives your students an opportunity to assess their own listening abilities. Many students haven’t given listening a second thought and don’t think of it as a skill that needs to be practiced. In order to maximize effectiveness, the survey should focus on specific questions related to listening skills. There are several different options when it comes to listening skills self-assessments. You can create your own, download a pre-made self-evaluation from the internet, or use the survey from Literacy in Focus. Regardless of the survey you choose to go with, letting students answer each question with “always”, “sometimes”, or “never” helps to avoid over-analysis. It also helps students stay focused on moving through the survey without getting stuck on a particular question. After taking the survey, give students time to reflect on their answers by responding to the following questions:
1. Do you think you are a good listener?
2. Are there times when you listen better than other times?
3. What do you think you can do to improve your listening skills?
Having your students take a listening survey or self-assessment at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year is extremely beneficial. Hopefully, students will show growth over time, which is a great thing to celebrate and share with parents.