Developing listening skills 

1 hour

Create a safe and positive learning environment by agreeing ground rules for the session.

Download the session Developing Listening Skills

A volunteer from your local Samaritans branch may be able to come in to support you with this session. Contact the education team to find out.

In this lesson we will learn:

to improve our listening skills

to understand the elements of effective active listening

to use effective listening skills




Digital resources

Listening Wheel audio (Youtube, download mp4)

Role play audio clips - 1 (Youtube, download mp4), 2 (Youtube, download mp4) and 3 (Youtube, download mp4).

Summarising audio (Youtube, download mp4)



1. Show and explain the elements of the Listening Wheel using the slides.

a) Open questions – invite students to give examples of open questions

b) Summarising – listen to the audio clip as an example and discuss

c) Reflecting – look at the example then ask students to give examples

d) Clarifying – ask students for examples

e) Short words of encouragement – ask students for examples

f) Reacting – read the given statement and ask for examples of a reaction.

2. Listen to audio clip 1: ask students what they noticed? Repeat with clip 2. What was different? Would the two people have felt any differently in this situation? Repeat with clip 3 and ask students if they identified any aspects of the Listening Wheel. How would the person have felt in this situation? What helped them to talk? Feed back and share.

3. Group students into threes and hand one scenario to each group. One person will be the listener, one the talker and one the observer. Using the Listening Wheel ask students to note which parts of the wheel are being used during the role play. Allow five minutes for the role play.

4. Feed back from groups: what elements of the Listening Wheel did anyone notice? How did it feel for the listener, what was easy or difficult? How did it feel for the person talking – what helped most?

5. Chinese whispers: whisper five different phrases around the class at the same time, until you say stop. See how they turn out!

These are the skills that Samaritans use when they are supporting people who call them. How do you think this helps?



  • What could I do to improve how I listen to others?
  • How would this benefit me?



Really listening to people makes them feel valued and understood. Being able to listen well to others helps you to be someone who others can turn to.


Links and Learning Journeys

This session links to: What is emotional health? | My support network | Barriers to asking for help | Expressing feelings

It is also part of 2 suggested learning journeys:

Learning journey: accessing support: Ups and downs of the day | My support network | Developing listening skills | Barriers to seeking help | Making assumptions (short) | Helping my friends

Learning journey: coping with stress: Ups and downs of the day | My support network | Developing listening skills | Managing stress: making choices | Aggression | Let it out

Make sure young people know what support is available and how to access this support.