One of the most important SEL skills is listening. In these exercises, students consider how they can be a great listener and practice their social and emotional learning skills. The discussion is a way to apply the affirmation to each of the five core competencies of social and emotional learning.

We provide the idea-starters with the intent that teachers can develop creative variations to adapt to age-appropriate use for their students. 

SEL Discussion Resource: I AM A GREAT LISTENER


  • Write or say the affirmation together: I am a great listener.
  • Fill in the blank: To be a great listener, I need to ____________.
  • Describe what actions show you are listening. (Responding, nodding, leaning in, looking at the person, etc.)
  • Describe what actions show you are not listening. (Talking at the same time, looking away, looking at a device, not responding verbally, fidgeting, etc.)


  • How do you feel when you realize someone isn’t listening to you?
  • When someone else is talking and you want to respond before they are finished, how do you stop yourself from interrupting?

Responsible decision-making

  • When someone is talking and you realize you aren’t listening, what would you do? Would you admit it and ask them to repeat what they said? Would you pretend you hear them?
  • What are the consequences of not listening to instructions for an assignment?

Social awareness

  • How does it make you feel when you know someone is listening to you when you share
  • your thoughts or feelings?
  • How does it make you feel when you listen to someone else and they feel valued and understood?

Relationship skills

  • Think, pair, share. Practice nonverbal ways to show you are actively listening. Pair with a friend to practice taking turns talking. Identify the ways you showed you were listening.
  • Why is listening important when you’re trying to work out a disagreement with someone else?
  • Practice reflecting and clarifying with a partner. Take turns being the listener or speaker. Explain what makes you happy, sad, or frustrated. Listeners, summarize what you heard the speaker say or ask a question to clarify what you think you heard. Then switch roles.


Next week’s SEL focus: I AM STRONG AND HEALTHY

To find the full-size posters to use in your classroom (or the magnet or postcard size) visit our store.

Suggestion for virtual learning:

  • Purchase a pack of 30 postcards for the teacher to hold the appropriate one up to the screen during discussion.
  • Purchase a pack of 30 small hand-off notes for each student to have at home with them. This allows for an interactive and hands-on experience.