• Students will understand what active listening is
  • Students will be able to practice active listening skills as they apply to traumatic events
  • Students will be able to identify the importance of active listening with trauma

ted talk 8 min

Have students listen to this Ted talk given by Julian Treasure about how to listen better:


Processing questions:

  1. What’s the difference between listening and active listening?
  2. What are some tips that help with active listening?

talk and listen game 15 min

  • Give each student three minutes to write down where they would like to take a vacation. Ask them to record multiple descriptors of their vacation destination and multiple reasons why they chose their vacation destination.
  • Assign students to pairs. Have one student be assigned listener, and the other talker.
  • The talker has to describe what their chosen destination and reasons for choosing their destination without mentioning the actual destination. The talker has 3-4 minutes to talk.
  • Listener has to practice active listening skills – listening attentively to what is being said and what is not quite being said, and demonstrating their listening to the talker by their behavior.
  • The leader may choose to display the 10 Skills for Active Listening chart listed below for guidance.
  • After 3-4 mins, the leader should call “time”.
  • The listener then has to summarize the three or four main issues or criteria that they have heard the talker express and make a tentative guess of the destination the talker chose.
  • The talker then takes approximately two minutes to tell the listener how close the listener was in judging his/her criteria and their vacation destination, as well as how well the listener demonstrated active listening behaviors/skills.

Swap roles and repeat.

Processing questions:

  1. Who correctly guessed someone else’s travel destination?
  2. Whose partner demonstrated quality active listening skills? How did they do it?
  3. Was it difficult or easy to actively listen for 3-4 minutes?

Active Listening/Supportive Network 5-10 min

To form relationships during any type of adversity, a safe and supportive environment is needed, hence the circle created today. While individually we can all make an impact, coming together and working as a community can sometimes create a larger sense of healing.

The Rain Game is an example of a group creating something good together. To begin, we need to be silent and follow the following commands. Perform each step approximately 10 seconds.

  1. Rub your fingers together.
  2. Rub your hands together,
  3. Snap your fingers ,
  4. Clap softly,
  5. Clap loudly,
  6. Pat your chest,
  7. Pat your legs,
  8. Stomp your feet,
  9. Stomp and clap at the same time, add “crashing” noises with your mouth.
  10. Then go backwards (steps 9-1), taking the noises away one by one until we were back to rubbing fingers together.

Processing Questions

  • The Rain Game showed us that together the group can create something positive and soothing despite a tragedy/trauma. Are there any other examples you can think of, when a group created something positive from a negative?
  • Were you surprised at how loud the ‘rain storm” sound was as a group when individually rubbing your fingers together doesn’t make that much noise?  What does that say about the power of a group?
  • Do you see the importance of active listening after a traumatic event and how it can be helpful to healing?  How can it help a large group?

Closing Ritual 2 min

Go around the circle and have each student name one thing they appreciate about life or a particular person (in the group or not in the group).

Additional Resources