To achieve Step 11, individuals will show that they can listen to two or more different perspectives on an issue and compare them.
In the previous steps, the focus was on how to demonstrate active listening, and then to be aware of how a speaker might try to influence us as listeners. This step thinks about how to listen critically to different perspectives and to compare them.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
In education, there will opportunities for us to listen to others share their perspectives on a topic. This might be during a debate, a class discussion, or when exploring a complex concept or enquiry question. In school, college or university we are expanding our knowledge of the world on a daily basis and building our understanding through listening to different perspectives. When we are presented with multiple viewpoints, it can be challenging to compare what is being said. However, by developing a method to do this effectively, you can listen to a range of perspectives in a critical way and determine which have credibility and begin to build your own perspective.
In the workplace, we might work with others when developing new products, discussing company policies or processes, or when reflecting on a service we offer. During these discussions, individuals may share a variety of different perspectives on a given topic. A range of perspectives can help lead us to a more well-rounded and considered solution which we may not have reached if working on our own. It may also help us to better understand and provide for our customers, clients or co-workers. However, it is important to approach perspectives in a critical way to ensure that your own perspective is based on credible and relevant information.
Listening to different perspectives helps us grow, stretch our thinking and see the world from diverse viewpoints. By learning more about others and ourselves, we can build stronger relationships. When presented with a range of perspectives, having the tools to effectively compare them is beneficial when determining our viewpoint on a matter. This might be useful during group discussions with friends or family, when listening to a debate or reading articles about important issues.
To best practise this step of Listening, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
To teach this step:
This step lends itself well to reinforcement in the classroom. For instance, debate can be a way of deepening learners’ engagement with a topic, and those listening have to decipher what they are hearing and decide what they think at the end, having reflected on a variety of options and views.
This step is also useful when learners are listening to different perspectives in other areas of learning. This sort of comparison is often an essential part of learning at a more advanced level.
This step is best assessed through a structured activity where learners have to listen to a range of perspectives on a problem or question. They should demonstrate that they can capture critical information, and then organise it in a simple model to compare the options and reach a justified view of their own, based on what they hear.
This step is relevant where individuals have to make decisions which involve understanding and evaluating different perspectives.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed by observing an individual during meetings when the merits of an idea or plan are being discussed.
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
As a parent or carer, you might be thinking about how best to support your children to build their essential skills. The good news is that there is lots that you can do that will have a big impact, including:
We’ve developed a whole series of tools and resources to help parents to build these skills, including:
There is also content for older children and young people, including short activities and reflections that they can complete alone, or with you.