To achieve Step 15, individuals will show that they can listen critically and avoid being influenced by the way speakers speak or act, to be objective in how they evaluate different perspectives.
This step draws together a lot of the various elements in the other steps, including the ability to recognise how speakers try to influence, and being able to evaluate different perspectives.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
In education, we interact with many different people on a daily basis. This could include an employer coming in to do a talk, members of the local council visiting the site or external guests presenting on particular issues. When listening to others, we must challenge ourselves around forming initial judgements on someone based on a first impression. We might miss out on interesting or important information being shared if we are not aware of this. If we focus on what is being said as opposed to the way someone presents themselves, for example, we can find clarity in our ideas and make well-informed decisions.
In the workplace, we often listen to presentations, pitches or talks delivered both by people who work internally within the organisation or externally as part of something separate. In order to get the most from other people’s perspectives, it’s important that we remain objective. When we first meet or listen to people, we can often make a snap judgement based on this initial impression. This can be based on our own internal biases. By remaining open-minded about a speaker or presenter, we are able to focus on evaluating the content of their ideas and the reasoning behind them. This can help to inform us of interesting viewpoints we might not have considered before and ultimately benefit the business more widely.
In our wider lives we are exposed to a variety of perspectives from many different types of people. With the rise of social media, we are exposed to more voices and it is important that we approach what is being shared in a critical way. If we are influenced by unconscious bias when listening to a speaker, we might miss out on learning about new perspectives and viewpoints that could be exciting or positively challenge the way we have historically seen something. On the other hand, it can be challenging to listen to perspectives or opinions that are different to our own but they can help us to grow and learn to understand others more comprehensively.
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 can be regularly reinforced, particularly thinking about how to ensure that learners are aware of biases that they might hold and surfacing them. Some of the fundamentals of critical listening can be extended to critical thinking more broadly.
This step is best assessed through a structured assessment:
This step is relevant to everyone who will use their listening skills to understand issues at work. This will be particularly relevant for those who use this understanding to help others make decisions about what to do next.
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 through questioning over a series of events. For instance:
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.