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  • Consolidate ‘Whole Body Listening’ through practice, modelling and reinforcement.

  • Explore and understand the importance of Whole Body Listening.
  • Realise that our behaviour can impact others and be interpreted by others in different ways.
  • Begin to make appropriate inferences about what others might be thinking and feeling

Materials Needed:

  • Who’s Not Listening with What? Card Pack
  • Detective Record Sheet (one for each student) (See Digital Resource CD)
  • All students will need a pencil and something to lean on
  • Four chairs positioned in a semi-circle at the front of the room, facing the class and a clear space in front of the chairs for another body to sit on the floor, facing the chairs (that students’ back will be facing the rest of the class)


Review and Reflect While students are sitting on the floor in front of you, point out the students that are whole body listening. For example “Sarah, that’s beautiful whole body listening” etc. If needed add “That means that your eyes are looking at me. Your head and shoulders are pointing at me…” Note: Always use the top down approach.

You might even challenge the group. “Does anyone think they can remember all the parts of Whole Body Listening, from the top down, without looking at the poster?”

“Last week I asked you to try Whole Body Listening with your teachers, family and friends. Did anyone discover anything interesting by doing that?” Discuss. 

“Now it’s time for some drama with a game called ‘Who’s Not Listening With What?”

Who’s Not Listening With What?

Arrange four chairs at the front of the room, in a semi-circle, facing the class. These chairs are for four ‘listeners’. Now clear a space in front of those chairs for a ‘speaker’ (the speaker can sit on the floor facing the four listeners).

Ask for volunteers, selecting 5 excellent whole body listeners to join you. The ‘speaker’ will receive a cue card telling them what to talk about. The ‘listeners’ will receive a cue card telling them what not to listen with. For example, ‘listen with everything except your mouth’. That student would need to look at the speaker, point their head and shoulders towards the speaker, keep their hands and feet still, but talk while the ‘speaker’ is also talking. The audience are the detectives. They need to observe the body language and faces of each ‘Listening’ actor and record who they think is ‘not doing what!’

When handing out cue cards, be strategic. Start with simple cue cards and introduce the difficult cue cards if the students request (or seem capable of) a harder challenge. Difficult cards that are near impossible to correctly guess include ‘listen with everything except your heart’ and ‘listen with everything except your ears’. These cue cards are open to the actors’ interpretation. There are no right or wrong interpretations, only interesting discussions.

Say ‘ACTION’ to begin the drama. At the end of each performance, say ‘FREEZE’. Each performance should run long enough so that the audience can record who’s not doing what. Now ask the audience “who was not doing what?” and discuss. You may also consider asking the actors how they felt in each of their roles. The Listeners might report difficulties concentrating on the speaker etc. The Speaker might report feeling disrespected, annoyed etc. The detectives might also comment on the ease or difficulty guessing who was not doing what, and they might discuss strategies that they used to help them figure it out. This may lead to further discussion about particular facial movements and expressions.

This activity provides the audience and the actors with an engaging means of practicing and refining their Whole Body Listening skills, and developing their observational and encoding skills (as referenced in the S.I.P model).

End Message: Remember, people can see when you are whole body listening, and they can see when you are not. A simple way to help your friendships so that your friends feel heard and valued is to whole body listen. FYI: It’s also an easy way to show your teacher that you’re actually tuned in with your eyes and ears, giving yourself the best possible chance of learning and remembering. It will maximize your learning capability without actually working any harder.

Access the Detective Record Sheet from the PDF.  

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