To achieve Step 2, individuals will show that they can listen and then ask questions to clarify their understanding.
This step builds on the previous two steps of Listening, which focused on being able to listen without interrupting, and then being able to recall basic instructions.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
Even if you are a good listener, what you understand will only be as good as how clear the communication is that you are receiving.
Before you can expand your understanding further, it is often helpful to check that you have understood what you have heard. If you don’t then sometimes misunderstandings can grow.
Some ways of checking your understanding are:
When you ask questions to check your understanding, you should first reflect on what you have already understood so that your questions are relevant
Some ways of thinking through whether you understand something, might be to think through the key questioning words:
To make sure you are asking good questions, make sure that they are relevant to the situation. Questions that are not relevant will waste time and suggest to the speaker that you have not been listening.
In education, we spend a lot of time learning new things. At times, this information may not be clear or we might not fully understand what is being shared. If we do not try to resolve this, it could lead to us missing out on important information or misunderstanding something. Lots of our learning builds on ideas we have previously explored so we need to make sure that we are confident in what we learn as we go along. If we do not understand something, we must know what questions we can ask to help us. We might need to ask questions in different settings, for example in a classroom, a seminar group or a club. We need to think carefully about what we don’t understand so we can ask specific questions which might, in turn, support others as well.
When working, you will probably have to interact with others, listen to presentations or be given verbal instructions which you are expected to follow. At times, what you have heard may not be clear and you will need to gather more information to build your comprehension. It is important that you know and understand what has been said in order to perform your job effectively, keep yourself and others safe or support colleagues in their roles. You may need to ask multiple questions in order to do this and these could be directed at peers, a manager or a customer so it’s important to consider what you already understand before asking your questions.
We need to listen to lots of different people in our wider life. Whether it’s a friend, family member, coach, instructor or acquaintance, it is important that we understand what they are trying to share. Occasionally this might not be clear which might make it difficult to support them or carryout what you have been asked to do. We might feel more comfortable asking questions to some people than others but it’s important that we do it in order to fully understand what is being said. By taking a moment to think about what you already know, you can reduce the number of questions you ask and build up a clearer picture. By being able to successfully listen, we are able to build positive relationships with others.
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 practised in the classroom. Some things that the teacher could do include:
This step can be assessed through observation and structured activity. For example:
This step is relevant for anyone who takes instructions from others through the course of their work, whether this be colleagues, customers or partners.
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 observation. 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.
At home, you can easily support your child to build their essential skills. The good news is that there
are lots of ways that you can have a big impact, including: