In conversation, as the listener you are expected to play an active role. By doing this, you show the speaker you are interested, whether you understand or not, and you can even control the direction of the conversation. You can do this by:
1. Predict: How
do you think a listener should show that they are understanding or encourage
speaker to keep talking? What types of nonverbal cues or other body language have you seen used in
conversations? What do you think they mean?
2. Plan: Break
into teams to observe. This type of speech behavior should be easy to
could you go? Also, what questions could you ask native speakers about their feelings or use of active
3. Collect Data: Take notes on real life examples you observe. Also, write down
your reactions. For
example, if you feel someone looked bored, what about their behavior made you think that?
4. Analyze and Report: What information did you uncover? Did you notice any
patterns? Prepare to
explain your observations to your classmates give demonstrations.
Can you apply what you learned from your own observations and your
To gain a better understanding of your own behaviors in active listening, do the classroom activity
1. Set up desks or tables in two rows facing each
other. Position behind one row so it is facing the
2. You will sit down in these two rows and have a conversation. This could be on any topic such
describing "what you will do for the rest of the day", "plans for the future", or telling a story.
3. The student facing away from the camera will be primarily talking with the student facing toward
camera will be primarily listening.
4. Begin the conversations and record. After a minute or so, switch, and record again.
5. Watch the tape and observe your own active listening behavior.