Lesson plan - listen in

Listen in

Listening and questioning skills – Prepares students to use effective listening and questioning skills during a visit from a guest speaker from another culture.


  • To increase students’ awareness of other cultures via first-hand dialogue.
  • To assist students’ acceptance of other cultures via active listening.


  • A confirmed booking of a relevant guest speaker to come to the school to speak to/with students about his/her culture. (Cultural items/pictures would be advantageous)
  • Bring A3 paper for brainstorming.

What to do

  1. Prior to the visit, students form small groups and decide on a scribe for their group (or teacher scribes for younger children).
  2. Students brainstorm all the topics they consider the guest speaker might talk about, recording answers on A3 paper.
    Note: When brainstorming, everyone’s suggestion counts so students should be encouraged to respect each individual’s suggestion.
  3. When at least six to eight topics have been recorded on the A3 paper, students brainstorm some questions that will cover the topics they have written down.
    Note: Students should avoid writing down questions that only require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer (closed questions). The opposite type of question (an open question) begins with why, how, what or when.
  4. Each student selects one or two questions from the list that they will ask the guest speaker.
  5. Teacher prepares students for the guest speaker’s attendance.
    Note: Students should be reminded to listen carefully to the speaker and to the questions asked by other members of the class, in order not to duplicate questions and answers.

Extension activities

  • Students prepare a ‘report’ of the visit, consisting of photographs/paintings/pictures with accompanying captions or other text.
  • Students report verbally about the experience, saying what they liked/found interesting about the visit.
  • Students take a copy of the prepared questions home to ask their own parents or family friends.

Adapted from a Living in Harmony Funded Project, ‘All Together Now’, Churches’ Commission on Education, WA, 1999.