Despite being a cornerstone of effective communication, listening isn’t given its due importance in our educational framework. Throughout a child’s education, reading literacy progresses, while listening literacy is expected to develop by chance. Yet the typical student graduates into a society where they will need to listen as much as 3x as they read.
What’s more, technology’s influence on younger generations has usurped active, in-person communication. This deficiency in listening skills intensifies feelings of disconnect and loneliness, fueling mental health issues among youths. In an increasingly complex and connected world, developing listening skills matters more than ever to help students navigate the difficult emotional terrain, improve how they learn, and prepare them with life skills.
Listening is a complex skill to both teach and learn. The majority of teachers lack formal listening skills training or listening curriculum for their classrooms. Additionally, teachers are grappling with a myriad of demands and challenges, including meeting stringent curriculum standards, heavy workloads, diverse student learning needs, classroom management issues, and a draining sense of initiative fatigue.
Literacy education means developing student’s ability to read, write, speak, and listen in a way that they can communicate effectively and make sense of the world. Educators are faced with the challenge of equipping students with a complex set of tools and strategies that enable them to understand, interpret, create, and communicate information through a wide range of written, visual, and spoken media. The 4 C’s of 21st century learning are skills that help set children up for success in school as well as in their future workplace. Listening is at the center of each of these skills.
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