Listening: What do children have to do?


Listening is also explicitly taught and reinforced throughout the curriculum

When listening, children are:

  • hearing models of language in use
  • learning about how speakers use gesture, volume, tone
  • observing how, in groups, speakers interact, take turns and influence others

In developing their skills in listening, children need to learn to:

  • ask questions to clarify what they have heard
  • build on what others say
  • create new meanings based on what they have heard
  • evaluate what has been said
  • respond non-verbally, e.g. by nodding or maintaining eye contact

Children show they have listened and understood when they:

  • identify the gist of an account
  • recall main ideas
  • re-present information
  • follow instructions correctly
  • make relevant comments and responses
  • respond to others, maintaining communication
  • ask questions to clarify understanding
  • notice significant uses of language

KS1 lesson idea

To give you an idea of the sort of interesting task that your child could be working on, this has been taken from the 'Listening - making it work in the classroom' leaflet prepared by the Department for Education to assist teachers with the primary literary strategy.

'Children were working on traditional tales, and different ways of ending them. The current story was Cinderella. Lots of discussion took place about the wedding and the party afterwards. Attention then turned to the ugly sisters and how they felt about the event. Half the children became friends of an ugly sister, and half the children were ugly sisters. They were given time to prepare their ideas and discuss what questions they might ask, or what details they might discuss. The teacher then modelled a telephone conversation with the teaching assistant to show the children the language structures involved in the conversation. The children then engaged in their own conversations. Their conversations became quite heated at times, including their need to buy gas masks to deal with their own dirty socks since Cinderella's departure! The telephone gave them security to try new ideas, and also meant they had to be very specific with their descriptions because body language and gesture could not be used over the telephone. The conversations also acted as initial verbal drafts for future writing.'

Information for teachers: BSA:Education-Oral Tasks.

How parents can help

In this resource, the sections Help in the home for your child who stammers and How to help your child's learning provide information for developing at home your child's confidence in communicating, so that he will be better able to participate in speaking and listening activities at school.

Click on the following links to open a PDF, use the back button on your browser to return to this resource. To save the handout to your computer, right click and choose 'Save as'.

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