Teaching your students proper listening skills is one of the most important facets of their education. Advanced listening skills are needed for success in the classroom, especially for students moving on to higher education. Beyond the classroom, developed listening skills are necessary in virtually every career path and will help students develop socially. There are numerous tools you can use to assess and help improve the listening skills of your students.
Assign periodic quizzes that cover the material you lecture in class. Vary the format of the quizzes, including short answer and essay responses. Multiple choice questions allow students to simply memorize notes, therefore not properly developing their classroom listening skills. Carefully review the quizzes to assess each student’s correctness and depth of knowledge of the material. This will give you a good idea of which students need to improve their listening skills during lecture. Consider your students’ past quizzes as well, as progressive improvements in their grades or writing skills likely indicates improved listening skills as well.
Divide your students into groups, and assign classroom presentations over the material covered in class. Group presentations can also be used to cover new material, such as by giving a different reading assignment to each group, then having them present the material to the entire class. Working in groups will teach students to listen to each other and work together. The proficiency of each group presentation will allow you to assess the social listening skills of each group.
Teaching your students how to take proper notes on lectures will help develop their independent listening skills. These skills will be especially important for students who move on to higher education, as students will be expected to already be proficient in listening and note taking. When giving a lecture, incorporate classroom discussion into the lecture and inform your students to take notes on this peer discussion as well. You will be able to assess your students’ listening skills during lecture time by evaluating the effort and knowledge they apply to classroom discussion.
Assign more extensive writing assignments for students to complete outside of class. These assignments should focus on the assigned class material, but also include in the prompt some of the main points as discussed in your lectures. This will develop classroom listening skills, as students will not be able to rely on out-of-class reading to complete the writing assignment. Evaluate the proficiency of each student’s writing to assess their knowledge of the class material and listening skills. Students who successfully incorporate much of the material discussed during lectures into their essays are showing proficient listening skills.