Video for listening

Video and in-class activity for listening

Although this is not directly related to listening, it effectively makes the point that most of us do not do well at having our attention divided.

In this 1:22 video, watchers are challenged to count how many times the team passes the ball. Something unexpected happens during the video, but watchers usually miss it because they are focused on counting the passes.

Although many people claim to multitask effectively, we often fail as listeners by trying to do too many other things while listening. Instead listening is selective — we must choose what will get our attention and be aware that other things will be slighted.

This could be developed into an in-class activity by having students count the ball passes then work with a small group to compare answers and come up with a final count. In the debriefing you could also ask if anyone noticed anything else about the video. It may be necessary to exclude students who have seen it before — the video has been around for a few years and you may have students who know about it already. They could be assigned as non-participant “observers” in the other groups if needed.

Note: The video is currently free at YouTube and likely at other sites too. It provides the exercise along with an explanation although it does not reference listening directly.

Have you seen other good video examples of selective listening or attention?


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About teachingpublicspeaking

I believe public speaking can go from most dreaded class to favorite class. I'm a former public speaking college instructor who spent years seeking out activities, assignments and examples to make the class interactive as well as educational -- they are collected here. I welcome suggestions for additions.

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