Life Skills, Activity 18: Communication, Listening Well

This is a single activity session plan from our Life Skills
Handbook, a book available in digital format (only). There are 61 activity
sessions in this book.
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for more information on the book and how to purchase it.

Purpose of activity: To develop skills to listen well

Life skills: communication & interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, critical thinking

Materials: Two sets of instruction cards 


1. Divide children into groups of three by counting 1, 2, and 3 round the group.

2. Explain that the 1s are speakers, the 2s are listeners and the 3s are observers

3. The speakers should prepare to talk for three minutes about anything that interests them or that they can speak easily about, for example, a sport or hobby, what they did today etc

4. Give each listener a different card with ONE instruction on it (see the examples below). If the children do not read, give them the slip and whisper the instruction.- Interrupt the speaker- Try to stop the speaker's story with a better one of your own.- Lean over and start whispering to the observer- Laugh for no reason- Examine the contents of your pocket- Make comment on what the speaker is saying 'That was stupid', 'You really did that?' - Change the subject to something unrelated to what the speaker is talking about- Look bored, yawn, and look around room.- Disagree with the speaker each time s/he says something

5. The speaker starts speaking and the listener listens well for a short time.

6. After 3 minutes, ask children to change their positions.  The observers become listeners, the listeners become speakers and the speakers become observers.

7. Give the listeners a new type of instruction such as those below. You may need to adapt the examples below. Or write new ones, to fit with your culture.- Show interest in the speaker by making sounds such as uh huh, hmmn, etc, and nod your head in agreement- Look at the speaker and make eye contact.  Lean forward to listen better- Ask questions to clarify what the speaker is saying- Compliment the speaker on what s/he is saying, for example, ‘That is very interesting,’ ‘oh yes I agree’. 

8. Ask observers of the second round what they noticed and speakers how they felt. 

Final discussion:

  • How do you feel when you tell someone something and they don't listen?
  • Have you ever had a misunderstanding because you were not listening – what happened?
  • If someone wants to talk to you about something serious and you are not in the mood, (because you are sleepy, distracted, worried etc) what can you do?

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Skills Group

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