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Active listening

Watch examples of groups and educators actively listening to each other.
Electric. Electric, electric’s a good one. So what do you need in an electric vehicle? What do you need from a seats in an electric vehicle? So one of the things about an electric vehicle is that it needs to be very light. You might not wanna be going putting big steel frames in there, but you also need to have that safety, it needs to be strong. So you might want to look into new materials, composites, carbon fiber, things like that. What else, so electric that’s a very good one. Any other new vehicle trends that anyone’s noticed or seen? Massaging seats. Massager seats, yeah. We can see that in that seat just there.
That’s their massage patents there so those little bags will inflate and deploy. What about driverless cars? Has anyone seen Google and those sort of companies? Tesla testing their driverless cars on the roads? So, you do need a seat in there? If you’ve got no driver, do you need to be facing toward the windscreen? Or do you need an airbag in front of your face? Or do you want to be able to turn the seat around so you can talk to your mum in the back? So these are the things we’re thinking of going forward into the future. How easy is it to make mistakes? On the actual scan? [LAUGH] Yeah. Very easy.
In fact, on the last demonstration I was just scanning a little bit and I touched a bit and then the seat moved. And then suddenly, as soon as you move the seat, you have to start all over again with the scan. So it’s important that you do not touch the item you’re scanning. [LAUGH] You try to secure it as well as you can wherever you’re scanning it. And you don’t move it cuz as soon as the seats moved you’ve ruined your scan basically. [LAUGH] Do they make these prototypes out there like down there. We have a prototype line out there, so we don’t actually get the prototypes themselves made here, so we’ll get them from other companies.
We’ll give them the CAD data and then they’ll make those prototype parts first. So the main thing that we do here is once we’ve got all those prototype parts, we have to ensure that they’re all able to fit together, and then the guys on the line are building them very, very quickly. And, so we have to ensure that our design of those parts, they’ll actually be able to make those parts in that small amount of time. [MUSIC]

How do you make sure someone is listening? By ‘active listening’ we mean that they are paying attention in a way that makes them engage with the content you are providing. How can you use your listening skills to engage young people in your activity?

When leading an activity you can model good listening techniques and consequently engage the young people more effectively. Here are some things to think about when listening to young people:

  • Show an interest in the young people, ask them about their day or how they are finding the activity to show you are interested in them as individuals.
  • Make eye contact with young people, especially when one is answering a question.
  • Use your body language and facial expressions to show you are interested in what they are saying, for example smile and direct your body towards the young person who is talking.
  • Repeat and possibly paraphrase what the young person has said to show you have listened and thought about their contribution.

You can also use your own listening skills to sense how engaged the young people are; are they talking about the task, something else or nothing at all? You can then alter your approach accordingly e.g. ask specific young people questions to encourage them to listen more closely.


Take a look at the video clip above of STEM Ambassadors. In the comments below:
  1. List the ways that you could tell the young people were listening to the activity leader.
  2. Identify any ways that the speakers are modelling active listening.
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