Listening: The Key to 2 Way Communication

Some important facts about listening:

  • the average person speaks anywhere from 125 to 175 words per minute.
  • we have the ability to listen to around 300 to 450 words per minute.
  • often our brain does not fully engage in listening as it can multitask and do so many other things while we can still appear like we are listening.

To demonstrate how quickly communication can break down play a quick game of “broken telephone”

Students sit in a circle; the teacher whispers a message (be sure to include lots of descriptive detail) to the first student and then the same message is whispered from one student to the next; the final student says the message out loud; it is often dramatically different from the original message. This game can also further demonstrate the pitfalls of “Trouble Talk“, specifically rumours and gossip.

Brainstorm with students all the possible factors that may lead to poor of faulty communication.

Active Listening:

Active Listening is the skill of fully concentrating on what is being said rather than passively hearing the message. It involves not only concentrating on what is being said, but also understanding, responding, and remembering what has been said. It is a skill that can be learned and developed with practice.

Introduction to Active Listening

Introduction to Mindful Listening

Active Listening is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced.

Funny clip from The Big Bang theory to demonstrate ineffective listening.

Brainstorm with students what active listening means.

What does it look like?

What does it sound like?

What does it feel like?

Listening: The Key to 2 Way Communication


Paraphrasing is when a person reads or actively listens to a message and is able to clearly express it back in their own words (written or spoken). In a paraphrase, the original ideas or meaning are maintained, but the wording has to be your own. Like active listening, paraphrasing is a skill that needs to be taught explicitly, practiced, and developed.