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Active listening

Watch examples of groups and educators actively listening to each other.

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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