1. Bad listening

  • Ask students to get into pairs and for one student to be ‘A’ and the other to be ‘B’. Send the Bs out of the classroom. Whilst they are out instruct the As to do the following on their return: ask them an open question (what did you do over the holidays, tell me about the best holiday you ever had, tell me about the football team you support etc) and then do nothing else, just sit. If the As notice that their attention wanders during Bs description, they should put their hand up and down again. They may do this any number of times.
  • Discuss the experience the class has just had: what was it like for the As and what was it like for the Bs. Did the Bs work out what the As were doing?
  • More bad listening. Play this clip from The Office and ask the students to identify all the mistakes that David Brent/Ricky Gervais makes with listening. Feed this back.
  • Listening blocks. Put the slide with the listening blocks up. A listening block is anything we do that gets in the way of (blocks) good listening. Ask the students to identify the listening blocks that David Brent used.

2. Some good listening

  • Ask students to call to mind the person in their life who is the best listener they know. In pairs, ask them to tell each other about what it is that person does that makes them a really good listener. Ask the listener to really concentrate on listening well.
  • Feed back the ingredients of good listening and put them up on the board. If needs be, compare with the slide which lists some of the things good listeners do.
  • More good listening. (MAKE THIS THE FOCUS OF THE LESSON) Ask the students to just sit and talk to each other in pairs. Ask them to concentrate on listening really well.
  • Discuss what they noticed and what went well.

3. ACR and listening to bad news

  • Talk through the ideas of Active Constructive Responding and how to listen to bad news (solve, solace, dismiss, escape). Ask students how this connects with what they have already been doing on listening.

Prep: ask students to spend time between lessons trying to really improve their listening skills. Ask them to write about the impact of this.