How to Strengthen Listening Skills in the Classroom

how to strengthen listening skills in the classroom

If there is one common issue all teachers deal with at some point in the year, it’s poor listening skills. You feel like you are stuck on a record player, saying the same thing over and over, repeating instructions, and constantly answering the same questions. It can be so frustrating and discouraging.

There are a few ways you can help your students learn effective listening skills that can stick with them the whole year. If your students ask you the directions you just shared five times again, then you may be ready to pull your hair out. Don’t stress! Just bring out some SEL lessons! I have three below that will be perfect to choose from for this issue.

These SEL lessons are tremendously beneficial in helping students learn vital social emotional skills. Every lesson is complete with all you will need and ready to use! Fifteen minutes a day lessons with parent letters, read alongs, and lesson plans.

Effective Listening

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You can help your students learn to be good listeners and, in turn, good communicators. The lesson below is based on a book that tells a story of a young girl who talks so much she doesn’t get anything done. This book shows that when you stop and listen to others, you can really learn so much and be super productive!

This lesson focuses on six aspects of being a good listener, and throughout the week, your students will get to see examples of this, and they will understand why it is so important to be a good listener! Teaching students HOW to listen effectively can make a difference, and that’s exactly what this SEL lesson does.

Hearing vs. Listening

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There is a big difference between hearing what someone says and listening to what someone says. Knowing the difference and how to teach students this is a game changer!

This lesson includes a book about a little boy named RJ. RJ tells the story of the worst day of his life. It began with gum in his hair, then he missed the school bus, was yelled at for running, sent to the principal’s office for wearing a hat… and the list goes on. What RJ realizes, with a little help from his mom, is that had he listened carefully to directions… all of those things that made his day simply terrible may not have happened in the first place!

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This is the perfect example of how important it is to listen rather than simply hear. This lesson also includes a mini-book, posters, and other activities.


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A big part of listening efficiently is having patience. Listening to directions until they are over, waiting to speak after the other person is done speaking, so you hear their words, etc. It can be hard for students to have patience, but thankfully this lesson helps them to learn.

This lesson includes the story about Gerald and Piggie. Piggie has a big surprise for Gerald, and Gerald is SO excited to find out what it is! Gerald does not enjoy how much time he has to spend waiting to find out what the big surprise is, just like our students don’t like to wait. After all, the definition of patience is “delaying gratification.”

Through this fun story with a few favorite book characters, we can open the dialogue with our students about the meaning and importance of being patient. There are also other activities included to give students some practice and examples of having patience.

Teaching your students how to be effective listeners is a great benefit to you, but also to them to have this skill for the rest of their life. There are also other SEL lessons that can give your students valuable skills like listening. You can find more of these at my shop!

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