I Am All Ears!

  • Version
  • Download 1815
  • File Size 259.87 KB
  • File Count 2
  • Create Date January 5, 2020
  • Last Updated January 5, 2020

I Am All Ears!

Created by

Beverly Chazan



Use role-play & fishbowl methodology to practice active listening and providing relevant information for the situation to gather data from the other's point of view to facilitate effective communication to achieve better understanding.


Learning Objectives

Managing Difficult Conversations:  Concepts of Communication-the three skills: Inquiry, Acknowledgement, Advocacy.

Focus of my activity: Inquiry and acknowledgement of understanding the information the inquiry is aimed at communicating.

Inquiry: Asking how they understand it.

Acknowledgment: Demonstrating understanding of their story and empathy with their feelings. -

Active listening


Lead-in / Preparation

Students will know how to:

  1. Take notes while listening to a YouTube video
  2. Use fishbowl
  3. Red/green cards to give ‘answers’
  4. Do self assessment-peer assessment
  5. Use elements of metacognition stages of planning, monitoring, evaluation…
  6. Reflection sheets
  7. Student will have learned about the concepts of communication- inquiry, acknowledgement and advocacy.
  8. Students need to understand what a difficult conversation is and that it can be managed-shifted by using active listening and concepts of communication.


Estimated Class-Time Required

Previous knowledge items 1-6 will be the result of how the class has been structured and organized and has been an on going process.

4 lessons to teach concepts 7 and 8 and 90 minutes for the activities on these pages.


Description of Activities

Step 1. Write the words ' Difficult Conversations' on the board.  Ask each student to answer questions about a difficult conversation he/she had with someone on a piece of paper.

  1. What was the subject of the conversation?
  2. Who was the conversation with? Describe your relationship with that person.
  3. What does it feel like when you communicate well with another person? Describe how you feel.  What does it feel like when you cannot communicate well with another person?  Describe how you feel.
  4. Would you say that you and that person usually manage to communicate well, sometimes manage to communicate well or never manage to communicate well.
  5. Share your answers with your neighbor.

Step 2. Watch the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIF5n6RWarA

Watch it again and jot down the tips you learned to help move the conversation forward. Share with your neighbor.  Make a joint list of the tips. Watch the clip again and jot down expressions you heard used for inquiry, acknowledgement, advocacy.  Add any key vocabulary phrases from the sheet below to help you manage your conversation.

Step 3. Join the pair in front of you and discuss the conversations you wrote about. Choose 1 and choose someone to share it with the class.

Step 4. Elicit tips from students and put on the board in a checklist format.  As you teach explicitly ask  a student to stand next to the board and put a check mark next to each item they had mentioned as you teach it.  Add whatever was not mentioned by the students as you teach the skills.  Students should have a checklist on the board they can copy and refer to.

Step 5.  Explicitly teach skills for concepts of communication-inquiry, acknowledgement, advocacy.  Provide the Active Listening Techniques Worksheet

Step 6. Students get into fishbowl form and using key vocabulary terms and the concepts of inquiry, acknowledgement, advocacy and the vocabulary sheets have the conversation they reported to the class and the checklist created above and try to implement the skills they learned.  Those observing will receive green paper slips to hold up when they hear phrases of inquiry and acknowledgment and red ones when they hear advocacy.

Step 7. Students rate whether or not they believe that the conversations were shifted towards effective communication using the skills and vocabulary learned from 1-10.

Step 8. Students reflect on what could have made it more effective and comment on that in the reflection explaining.  Write what their goal is to practice for effective listening-inquiry for their next difficult conversation.

Step 9. Students now role play-fish bowl- the difficult conversation reported to the class trying to implement what they learned. Repeat step 6. Add to reflection sheet:  whether they think their conversation was less difficult and they reached their goal for the conversation using the active listening –communication skills- inquiry-acknowledge-advocate –they learned.

Step 10. part of reflection-see below- ORAL Reflection – 4 corners OMER questions

ORAL reflection: Answer OMER questions orally using 4 corners activity- about the process:

100%-79%, 60-80%- 40-59% 0-39%

For each descriptor – relevance to my life-meaningfulness of learning skills for communication-involvement- levels of active participation and collaboration in the activity.


Key Vocabulary / Phrases

Active listening terms: see charts below (and link) and vocabulary students noted from the YouTube clip




 Teacher, peer, self

Assessment will take place twice once after each fishbowl exercise.  After the second time the students will evaluate whether or not they believed the second conversation achieved the objectives of active listening and communication skills we worked on.

The facilitator will keep a list with the names of students and check whether they held up the green or red paper when appropriately and the students in the role play situations whether they can learn to use the skills they were taught.




  1. Reflect on what went wrong in the first conversation- What skills or vocabulary didn’t you use to make your communication effective (less difficult) the first time? Make a list and explain.
  2. Plan how you will go back to the person you had the difficult conversation with using all of the skills you learned and have that conversation again more effectively.
  3. After the 2nd fishbowl: Do you think your conversation was less difficult and you reached your goal for the conversation using the active listening –communication skills- inquiry-acknowledge-advocate –they learned.

Further reflection - which skills you succeeded in implementing and which ones you need to work on?  Which vocabulary words or expressions do you need to use more frequently in order to apply the skills you learned?

Summary of the process they went through and how effective they think it will be.

Will you be able to transfer to other conversations?

See step 10 above:

ORAL reflection: Answer OMER questions orally using 4 corners activity- about the process: 100%-79%, 60-80%- 40-59% 0-39%

For each descriptor – relevance to my life-meaningfulness of learning skills for communication-involvement- levels of active participation and collaboration in the activity.



I would need to evaluate this plan after having tried the process in class and make appropriate changes where it might not work. Activity would have to be adapted for a class that does not have the following proficiency levels.  This was designed for an excellent Advanced English class which is fluent and accurate.  Level of proficiency is above B2 CEFR.  Listening and note taking from the youtube is not a challenge for them. All other activities are within their range of proficiency.



Active Listening Techniques-Pathways chart Handout 5.



Pathways Sentence Stems: Inquiry, Acknowledgment, Advocacy


Could you help me to understand ...?Before we move on, I want to make sure I've understood what you've told me. Are you saying that…?Because of….I think that…
Could you show me how...?I can see why you feel…How about trying…?
Do you have anything to add to …?I sense this makes you feel ... Is that right?I believe that...
How did you arrive at …?I think you're saying... Is that right?I see things differently.  The way I see it is…
How do you see...?I understand from you that... Is that right?I think we should...
If we had to choose between ... and ...?I want to make sure I am following…I'd like you to...
Please tell me more about...If I were in your shoes, I'd also feel/think/want...I'd recommend that...
Walk me through ...If I were to put that into my own words, I'd say that... Is that right?I'd say that...
What does it mean to you when... ?Let me see if I got that right. Were you saying that….?In light of... I think that …
What I'd like to understand is…?Please correct me if I misrepresent or miss something...In my opinion...
What if we agreed to…?Thank you for sharing your perspective. Now I can better see how….My take is that...
What information/experience leads you to believe …?What I hear you saying is…My understanding is that...
What is your understanding of...?What I think you’re saying is…The data I see suggest that...
What leads you to say that...?The things I am focused on are…
What leads you to see … the way that you do?What about doing…?
What would be wrong with…?What do you think of...?
Why do you feel...?
Why would … not work?
Why…? Why not…?
Would you prefer... or ...?


Attached Files

1578220974wpdm_I Am All Ears.pdfDownload
Active Listening.pdfDownload