For a speaking activity to work well a good «active» Listener is required. Take, for instance, group discussions, trialogues or dialogues. It is the case that sometimes the person you are talking to is as a matter of fact not listening. Therefore you cannot expect to get engaged in a conversation then, or follow instructions, receive the right answer to your question or the appropriate comment to your statements.
«It is a huge welcoming gesture of kindness and hospitality to sit and listen»
Closing up our Masters studies [UMA – February 2019] the importance of opening up in silence to just listen to your conversation partner was pointed out to all participants. As Jose María Doria put it himself «It is a huge welcoming gesture of kindness and hospitality to sit and listen». And the Emotional Intelligence group dynamics suggested were to sit quietly in small groups of three for 5 minutes and pay full attention to your partner’s speech. The instructions were to Listen only and not Think of what to say next. Just stay there in silence and observe and welcome their words.
For five minutes one, then the other, then yourself. The experience was phenomenal as we realised how much one misses in conversation when not paying full attention. It shows a conversation can actually flow naturally when you engage into it, connect and respond instead of reacting or over reacting.
My invitation is to practice this exercise first before delivering a dialogue first, then trialogues. Once the procedure is understood move finally on to group discussions.
A student who listens carefully and actively is fully prepared to engage in conversation and put into practice all the knowledge obtained by experience or study over the years. We are accountable for teaching this to them and offering encouragement and support so they can achieve their best performance.
Sit up – Lean in – Acknowledge the speaker – Nod – Track the speaker – Resonate with the experiences
Listening is actually an art. And in the language classroom it is a must if you want to have productive and meaningful speaking tasks. So here are excellent tips from SLANT Listening which teach students to be engaged Listeners paying full attention.