Getting kids to listen can be a struggle at times. I know when I was in high school, listening was not my primary focus. I was too busy working on my social skills and writing notes to friends instead of listening to what my teacher was reviewing. Luckily, I made the necessary adjustments before my mom had to get involved, or my grades suffered too much.
It is possible to get students to listen, whether as a homeschooler, in an online school, or in a regular brick-and-mortar setting. We reached out to families who have “been there, done that,” and they shared their years of collective wisdom, advice, and experience to help you get off to a strong start.
Lori M. is a Learning Coach for a fifth-grade student at Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, and she explains, “What we really mean is comprehending or understanding what is said. A child might hear you but not know what you mean. Have them repeat directions back to you in their own words so that you know they understood you and clarify if necessary.”
My teachers would do something similar in class and I had a similar trick that worked for me when studying. By asking me to repeat what they just said, my teachers would alert me to the fact that I was not listening, and I would quickly adhere. On my own time, I would write down my class notes over and over again until the information would sink in. Business Insider says handwriting can be more beneficial that typing because “handwriting slows down the process of taking notes, and accelerates learning.”
Be a Good Listener
Sarah R. is a Learning Coach for an eighth-grade student at Wisconsin Virtual Academy. Her advice to “raise good listeners by being a good listener,” is priceless. “Often adults don’t take the time to listen to the younger generation. Be open to their views, ask questions, offer advice. Have dinner at the table and give everyone an opportunity to speak and listen.”
If students don’t feel like they are part of the conversation, but are being talked to, they’re likely to shut down mentally. Give them respect, and you may be pleasantly surprised to have the same respect in return.
Make Learning Fun
Jeanette has two third graders at Southern University Laboratory School, and says her strategy is to “pay attention and have fun!” You may think that learning only occurs when kids are serious and quiet, but this thinking may be having an adverse effect. Brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory.
If learning and fun are taught together, children will automatically love to learn.
Do your students listen? Share your experience and tips in the comments!