"Respectful Listening" Skills

I recently began facilitating weekly classroom lessons with 6th grade students. I am planning to cover a myriad of topics with students throughout the remainder of the year. Some of the topics I am working on currently include bullying, conflict resolution, and respect.

For the lesson I facilitated today, I used No Kidding About Bullying by Naomi Drew.  I taught students about "Respectful Listening," through a role play described in the book.  The students identified ways  I was being a respectful listener, including making eye contact, paying attention, asking questions about the topic, and not interrupting.  I recorded their answers on my white board. After the role play, I instructed students to complete a brief checklist from No Kidding About Bullying to assess how well they feel they listen to others.

To get students up and moving while reinforcing "respectful listening" skills, I used an activity from Energizers! 88 Quick Movement Activities That Refresh and Refocus, K-6 called "Walkie-Talkies." Students walk to find a partner, talk to the partner, and walk back to their seat at the conclusion of the activity. I explained to students that during the activity their job was to focus on being a "respectful listener." We came up with a list of topics together to set students up for success in starting conversations. Students were able to refer to our list of characteristics of a "respectful listener" on the white board during the activity. I used my chime to signal when it was time for students to return to their seats.

The students really enjoyed the "Walkie-Talkies" activity. They were excited to share the new things they learned about their classmates and what they had in common that they did not know about previously. I did a whip-share, in which each student shares a brief answer, about how it felt to have a "respectful listener" listening to them.  Some of the ways that respectful listening made students feel included "heard," "important," and "special." We discussed how "respectful listening" can help make a classroom more peaceful. When students are respectful listeners it makes everyone feel heard, respected, and included.

Finally, I had students complete a worksheet from No Kidding About Bullying about a great listener in his or her life.  Students then reflected on something they wanted to work on to be a better and more respectful listener.

For more information and excerpts from No Kidding About Bullying visit Free Spirit Publishing.

How do you teach students about "respectful listening" skills? Comment below, email me, tweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


  1. I like this lesson. I especially like the coined terms 'walkie-talkies' and 'whip share.' I may just have to borrow them!

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  6. Walkie talkies are often pictured as that black bulgy transistor with a big antenna that one has to hold near his mouth before he speaks. walky talky


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