To achieve Step 14, individuals will show that they can use questioning to evaluate different perspectives that they are hearing.
Since Step 10, the focus has been on listening critically, including by comparing perspectives and then trying to understand where those different views come from – whether from experiences, differing interests, beliefs and values, or biases. This step builds on that by focusing on critical questioning as a way to evaluate perspectives.
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 an 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. During a debate or discussion, you might take the lead on researching the key question and this could involve interviewing others. Knowing what questions to ask to help you formulate the most accurate argument, devoid of bias and prejudice will be very important. By asking thoughtful questions, we can help ourselves to identify cognitive bias or prejudices that might impact our opinion or decision-making abilities.
Sharing different perspectives and viewpoints is standard practice in many workplaces. We listen to colleague’s deliver presentations, we might attend seminars on important topics, or take part in discussions to improve or develop the wider business. When building our understanding and developing our own arguments for and against different options, effective questioning of different perspectives can help us to critically evaluate what is being shared. It can also help us to identify potential bias or prejudice that might negatively impact the company’s reputation or the relationship it has with its customers or clients.
In our wider lives we are exposed to a variety of different narratives. This could include watching a political debate on the television, reading articles on an important topic or listening to a podcast discussing social issues. It is important that when we listen to the perspectives of others, we don’t just accept what we hear at face value. People’s opinions and viewpoints can be influenced by cognitive bias and prejudices. If we feel more confident in evaluating what people say through techniques such as effective questioning, the more informed and well-rounded opinions we are able to form.
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 is a good step to reinforce during learning across different subjects. For instance, by introducing debate or by asking learners to take the lead on getting the information they need from the teacher on a particular topic.
More broadly, it can be reinforced by encouraging learners to take a critical approach to what they hear and to avoid accepting what they hear at face value.
This step is best assessed through a structured activity such as the debate outlined above. The teacher can look for evidence that learners can develop thoughtful questions (potentially written down individually for ease of assessment) that are appropriate and help to fill out an argument or identify bias.
This step is relevant to everyone who will use their listening skills to understand complex issues, and have to reconcile those to reach an approach to take forwards.
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:
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.