Pay Attention

35 minutes Online activity
Learning Outcomes

Participants are given the opportunity to practice the skill of active listening.


The trainer explains how active listening works. E.g. the listener…

  • paraphrases the challenges that the speaker has encountered
  • repeats back
  • reflects about what the speaker feels
  • summarises 
  • asks relevant questions
  • re-assures that he/she truly understands what’s going on & what emotions the speaker experiences
  • uses positive body language, nods, maintains eye contact
  • is not distracted and therefore refrains from fidgeting, looking at a clock or watch, playing with their hair or picking their fingernails.

The trainer also explains why it is useful: Normally in conversation/conflict we do not truly listen but instead are thinking about what we will say next. Active listening forces us to listen – meaning that the speaker feels heard and we genuinely do hear.

The trainer demonstrates active listening at the front with volunteer: The volunteer recounts a problem they are dealing with, the trainer listens actively. Do not try to fix the problem!

Students practice in groups of three, recalling life stories involving some conflicting moment/ problems. They can chose to talk about any topic they feel comfortable talking about or they can use the Scenario Card Handout for ideas.

Participants are put in groups of three. Each is assigned a role: A speaks, B listens, C observes. In 5 minute segments each practices active listening. Process is repeated until each participant has had the chance to practice active listening (Take the role of the listener.)

This game is suitable for online use!

Ideas For Reflection

After the activity, the trainer can ask the whole group:

  • How did you feel as a speaker? 
  • How did you feel as a listener? 
  • What did you notice as an observer?