Speaking and listening skills are often overlooked because it is very subjective and one student may be naturally better about speaking in front of others or being an active listener than another. Make sure students know how important it is to be able to present themselves in a confident and successful way as they go through school and, ultimately, life. If you make speaking and listening an ongoing practice in your classroom, your students will gain the confidence they need!
Let’s start with listening!
- Ensure students know the importance of being a good listener. Right and wrong should always be discussed in the classroom.
- Start with an open-ended question, such as, “What is a good listener?” and have the students create a list of what you’d expect! By students creating the list, it gives them ownership over the list and they are more likely to follow it.
Giving students a voice!
- Many students don’t do well when speaking in front of others, so it is our job to help them feel more confident. Build confidence my emphasizing the good parts of their speech, rather than what they did wrong. As they improve, you can then emphasize that you noticed the improvements.
- The more the students speak in front of others, they will gain confidence in themselves.
- To start, make a game out of it or give them a fun activity where it is ok to make mistakes, be goofy, and laugh together. This will build an overall nature of acceptance for speaking in front of the class. Lesson Suggestion: have your students speak in different voices at the morning meeting. One day, they could introduce themselves as if they were a pirate, another day a mouse!
Giving students a prop!
- When students give a speech to the class, they generally have a hard time with the basic skills of giving a speech and tend to rely on their paper too much. This leads to inadequate eye contact and muffled voices. We need to give them support and find alternative ways to help them to remember their speech.
- Have students present their speech without paper. Suggest props, posters, etc. for students to use to avoid the tendency to rely on reading from a paper.
Show Them What Is Expected!
- When students are given clear and understandable guidance, they can build their skills accordingly. Clearly lay out expectations.
- Give students feedback on what they did well and what they still need to improve on.
- Allow listeners to compliment and lend suggestions to speakers as well. This lesson can also build active listening skills and kindness in the classroom.
Here is a free resource for you to use:
Angela French M.S.
What is some additional advice you could give to teachers to build speaking and listening skills? Comment below!