- Do you have trouble in your lessons with students not paying attention?
- Do they know how to listen?
- Have you taught them or is it something you expect them to be able to do?
As a Learning Support Unit (LSU) manager in my second school in Leeds I worked with students who were close to exclusion. Our Key Stage 3 provision involved supporting students who were not able to cope with a full timetable. This involved removing some of Year 7, 8 and 9 students from subjects where they were causing the most concern. This intervention lasted for a half term, then we attempted to support them back into class. This seemed like a good idea in 1999 in a time pre SEALs. Our Key Stage 4 provision involved running the Princes’ Trust XL club. An ASDAN accredited course which I really enjoyed delivering.
Whilst looking for ideas on how to put a programme together I stumbled across a ‘Social Skills’ series of lessons from the USA (In Singapore whilst on holiday!).
After adapting the resource to make it ‘Leeds friendly’ the other LSU teachers and I tried to improve the chances of the students achieving some success on their return to lessons.
The section that has stuck with me the most was the ‘listening’ lesson.
The skill of listening was split into 5 parts.
We taught the students about the first three-
- Eye Contact
- Facial expressions
- Body Language
Then checked their learning by-
- Asking questions about what we had learnt
- And then asking them to ask us about the work we had done
If I’m working with a class that needs to improve their listening skills I will return to this strategy. I will teach them about the importance of making eye contact in class with me as a teacher, whilst maintaining a positive facial expression. I will also ask them to think about their body language at all times in the lesson and then will check to see how well they do by giving them a score out of 3.
Finally we will have a go at answering and asking questions to get our 5 / 5 for 100% listening.
Occasionally I might check in an INSET day as well.
22.39 (a bit distracted tonight)