Today’s Social Listening Skills

Educators have always used listening skills as a learning checkpoint, but in this technology tools age social listening needs to be more than a tick off a presentation checklist. Educators have a responsibility to include listening skills, as well as presentation skills into all curricula, and at every age and grade level, even in the earliest classroom experiences, and lessons. These skills help students focus on the importance of listening to others, as well as interacting socially. If students understand feedback is required, it becomes a necessary listening skill, and a natural part of conversational engagement. Every student should be heard in every classroom each day. That means each student should have a voice each day. While it’s true most of us are focusing on personalized learning, it should also be true that we focus on collaboration, and for that we need all the conversational skills—speaking, listening, and collaborative participation.

Today, with blogs and social media anyone, who wants a voice, can have one. Social media feeds seem to travel at the speed of light computer, tablet, and smartphone. Even with apps that collect from those feeds it’s difficult to catch it all. And because there is a driving need with social media to say, hear, experience, it becomes more difficult to actually listen to what others are saying, hearing, or seeing, too. We don’t listen to others as well, so we miss so much. Social is a perfect place for listening lessons, and honing skills for those skills, too. Use of social media concepts can be a great way to have middle, high, and even higher education students experience a higher-level kind of Show & Tell, which certainly carries over to the workforce and careers as well.

All this takes time during each classroom day, but these conversational and collaborative skills are such precious added value to teaching, learning, school, career, and life. Making time for talking and listening in classes each day is a teaching, learning, and lifelong gift. It’s time to get a bit more social in class!

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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