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  • Writer's pictureKelly Priest

Which Parts Are Your Best Listeners?

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

After a group of my students wrote a scathing satirical version of a well-known whole-body listening series, I decided to create a different approach to share with teachers.

I used feedback from teachers who liked the concept of whole-body listening, but felt that for too many students, a focus on listening with multiple body parts simultaneously was too difficult and created new problems, like self-consciousness or tattling from other students for whole-body listening infractions. 

This approach encourages students to think about how different parts of their bodies may contribute to their listening abilities. It makes space for individual differences and allows students to see the diversity of listening approaches among their peers. Teachers often have students color and cut out their best listening body parts and tape them on their desks to be tapped or pointed to as reminders. For students who are ready for a social learning stretch, teachers may also guide them to choose a body part that they could focus on to “help them listen a little better.”

simple illustration of eyes with arrow pointing away to the right.

I think with my EYES about the speaker.

When I look over their way,

I find out a little more.


I focus my BRAIN on the speaker, keeping my thoughts connected to theirs.


I keep my MOUTH sounds

low or quiet, so everyone’s ears can hear their words, including me.


I use my EARS to hear the speaker’s words, their tone of voice,

and their plans and ideas.


I point my FEET toward the speaker to help my whole body turn toward them.


I let my HANDS relax near my body or give them something calm to do so they don’t distract me or others too much.


I listen with my HEART so I can connect with the speaker’s feelings.


Which Part of Your Body Could Help You Listen a Little Better?



Kelly P Whole Body Listening
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