How I Train Students to Listen to Each Other

This post will cover the technique I used to get my students to listen to each others' performances and answers in class

I say, "used" because I did not need to re-teach this again this school year (I have all the same students this year and they remembered the technique!). 

My "how to be a good audience member" speech to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students:
  1. Hands and feet must remain quiet. You can move with the rhythm of the music as long as you don't make sounds that are distracting. Our focus should be on the performance. 
  2. Your instrument should be in rest position or you can gently place it underneath the chair. 
  3. Eyes should be on the performer, reading along with the music, or closed. 
  4. Body should be facing the performer. If the performer sits behind you, turn around to show your respect. 
  5. At the end of the performance we will always clap! If the performance was good, great! If the performance needs more work, excellent. Regardless of the quality of the performance, we always clap for the performer because it is never easy to play in front of people. 

How I reinforce this technique:
  • I created a special active listening point on Class Dojo
  • I turn the volume off on ClassDojo
  • I hit "random" on Class Dojo and look at the student whose name appeared on the screen. If the student is following my criteria for listening, they get the point. 

Why I decided to use this technique
  • I noticed the students thought performing for was only for the teacher and not for the class. 
  • Students were embarrassed about playing in front of their friends. 
  • Only some students listened to their peers. Other students talked, made noise, or practiced their instrument. 
  • Students (in general) only clapped for performances they thought were "good." If a performance was not "good," the class would not clap. This made students self-conscious. 

Benefits of using this technique
  • The room was so quiet during student performances!
  • Students really looked forward to the performances section of class. 
  • More students volunteered to perform. 

  • 1 Point - Students who were active listeners. 
  • 2 Points - Students who performed. 
  • 5 Points - Students who gave an excellent performance. 


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