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4 mistakes that prevent you from actively listening to your students

Achieving a high level of student participation during classes is an objective that any teacher seeks.

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I am Haris Payne, a "digital" educator, and mentor for many teachers in my city. I write articles like the one you would read now and reviews on essay writing service. Read my hirewriters review here.

Achieving a high level of student participation during classes is an objective that any teacher seeks. However, too often distractions, lack of motivation, and other factors make it difficult for teachers to pass on knowledge. In fact, listening is considered to be the most demanded skill of the 21st century.

Although some teachers have an innate ability to achieve active listening, it is usually achieved through the application of basic techniques that you probably already know. In this article, I will show you the 4 most common mistakes that are usually made in this area, and how to solve them.

Do not synthesize

Long exposures make learning difficult. The importance of knowing how to summarize and outline knowledge is paramount since students learn to discern the most important ideas from those that are less important, in addition to paying less attention to what is incidental. Synthesizing helps to attract attention, which implies active listening, and keeps both teacher and students involved with the message to be transmitted. A common mistake is to explain lessons and syllabuses verbally without the student knowing the extent of these; it is preferable that the student knows how long they last in order to program his or her attention for a specific period of time.  

Not promoting interaction with students

Sometimes to get active listening, you simply have to promote it. Many students end up adopting a passive attitude when they enter the classroom because they have assumed that their opinion is not taken into account, either because it is not considered valid or opportune, or because the teacher believes that information should be transmitted in a hierarchical manner, with no other alternative.

Promoting student interaction not only contributes to improving the learning climate and to establish links between students themselves and the teacher, but also generates a horizontal transmission of knowledge. There are many ways to contribute to this interaction, such as asking questions of the audience during the presentation or establishing question-and-answer sessions at the end of the class.

No eye contact

Students, as listeners, behave like any other type of demanding audience, and one of the most important mistakes that can be made when speaking in class is not to look students in the eye. Not doing so reduces interactivity and impairs the transmission of knowledge.

To obtain active listening, one can look at an indeterminate point in the group of students or establish one or two as a reference to be addressed assiduously. It is preferable to memorize the text as much as possible, rather than to read it by constantly looking down. A common error on the part of teachers, when they are explaining something that is, for example, on a blackboard computer graphic, is to turn our backs on the students; we should hardly turn around and recover eye contact.

Underestimating the importance of public speaking

Oratory is the art of public speaking, which does not mean that to be a good teacher you need to master it. However, following a series of basic tips and tricks to lose the fear of public speaking can help to encourage active listening and improve the transmission of knowledge. One of the bases of public speaking is the use of the voice. Using a monochord tone draws attention away while using an active voice, which changes by emphasizing some words and phrases, draws attention away.

It is advisable to walk rather than remain static and use some hand gestures to emphasize specific aspects, taking advantage of the strength of non-verbal communication. To improve oral skills it is very interesting to record one's own presentations and speeches so that one can later analyze the weak points and try to improve them.

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