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Listening in School

Children learn that showing others they’re listening is almost as important as hearing the words. In showing their attention, even when they’re bored, they are understanding that the speaker has the need to feel their message is being heard, which is shown by giving the speaker eye contact, facing them, and maintaining a calm demeanor.

Preview an SEL skills lesson: Listening in School

1 Show the video to your students

[ANIMATED SCENE – Teacher in front of class. Students are at their desks looking at the teacher. Teacher board has a picture of a seal.]

Narrator: We have many jobs in school. One of the most important jobs is to listen to our teacher.

Teacher: Seals like to eat fish.

Narrator: Listening to our teacher is important because if we don’t listen, we can’t learn anything new. Learning helps us in so many ways. School helps us learn about how the world works.

Boy1: (thought bubble – Boy1 is feeding a seal with fish in polluted waters)

Narrator:  When we grow up, we can use what we’ve learned to do cool things. But, in order to learn, we need to listen and be our most focused.

Boy1: (thought bubble – video games)

Narrator:  When we catch ourselves thinking about things that are distracting, like our favorite video games, we can think of a strategy to focus. We can put distracting things away, take a deep breath, 

Boy1: (takes a deep breath)

Narrator: …and remind yourself to think about the current topic.

Boy1: (thought bubble) I should think about seals.

Narrator: When we are paying attention, we are looking with our eyes, listening with our ears, and keeping our brain focused on what our teacher is saying.

Boy1: (thought bubble – seal)

Narrator: Remember, the more we listen in school, the more we learn.

[Teacher board shows space science and rocketships] When we learn new things, we feel good about ourselves and others feel good about us. Who knows what you’ll do with all the things you learn?

Boy1: (thought bubble – Boy1 and seal in space suits and floating near a spaceship)



Listening to our teacher is one of the most important jobs we have in school.

If you catch yourself not focusing, you can:

(1) Use strategies like taking deep breaths and putting distracting things away.

(2) Check your body. Are you: Looking with your eyes? Listening with your ears? Thinking about what your teacher is saying?

Learning new things makes us feel good and makes our teacher feel good about us.


2 Review with the Companion Worksheet
3 Apply new skills with activities & games!

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Other SEL materials on Listening in School
Showing You're Listening Video
Showing You're Listening

Pre-k and K

School Behavior Interactive
School Behavior

Elementary School

Interactive: My Listening Toolbox Activity
Interactive: My Listening Toolbox

Pre-k and K