|Aaron Rohde, in his hard hat, is read|
to tackle the work associated with HEARing.
Getting students to listen is a more than a common classroom challenge. The Common Core State Standards for Language Arts recognize the importance of listening as an ability that students must master to become college and career ready: “Students must learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, integrate information from oral, visual, quantitative, and media sources, evaluate what they hear, use media and visual displays strategically to help achieve communicative purposes, and adapt speech to context and task.”
As Aaron Rohde, a teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Reed City, Michigan, and a graduate of our program, says, “Being a ‘listening genius’ will be beneficial in all areas of life—in school, in personal relationships, and in professional work situations.”
Many teachers find the HEAR Strategy from our book 60 Strategies for Increasing Student Learning to be useful in improving student’s listening abilities. We have received a lot of feedback from teachers who tell us this is one of their favorite strategies and one that they like to reinforce at the beginning of the year. The HEAR strategy consists of the following steps:
- Halt: Stop whatever else you are doing, end your internal dialogue on other thoughts, and free your mind to pay attention to the person speaking.
- Engage: Turn your head slightly so that your right ear is toward the speaker as a way to ensure that you are engaged solely in listening.
- Anticipate: By looking forward to what the speaker has to say, you are acknowledging that you will likely learn something new and interesting, which will enhance your attention.
- Replay: Think about what the speaker is saying. Analyze it and paraphrase in your mind or in discussion with the speaker and other classmates. Replaying the information will aid in understanding and remembering what you have learned.
In the past, Aaron has taught the HEAR strategy to his third- and fourth-grade students while wearing a hardhat to emphasize that learning how to listen takes hard work. However, he stressed that it is worth the effort since listing is an essential skill for achieving success in school and in life.
“Just saying that one is going to be a better listener is not enough to make it happen,” says Aaron. “One must work hard to improve such an essential skill.”
I wholeheartedly concur and love the hardhat analogy. Let’s help policymakers understand that building students’ mind/brain systems is an important kind of building that must be supported across the nation, states, and communities!