In this post I describe the fifth of what I consider to be the five most important traits needed for success in school. By giving attention to these high-leverage behaviors and nurturing their development over time, teachers and parents can empower children to maximize their amazing potential.
Of course, no two children are alike, and not all high-achieving students will display the traits I am about to describe in the same way. Some of the following details may not be true of every successful student. My goal, then, is not to paint a picture of a single, rigid "type" that all children must emulate. Rather, it's to share the specific behaviors that, in my experience, have the greatest impact on a child's success. Focusing on these behaviors gives teachers and parents the greatest bang for our buck in our efforts to help children become better students.
E - Engage in Energetic Listening
Successful students are attentive listeners. Many kids listen closely when their teachers present lessons or give important directions, yet they tend to tune out when their classmates are sharing information and asking and answering questions. Successful students listen closely to everyone; they don’t miss a thing. You can see it in the posture they take during instructional lessons and in the eye contact they consistently make with the speaker. They want to absorb as much information as much as possible during lessons and discussions, and they participate frequently. Furthermore, they involve themselves in the conversation, enthusiastically and confidently.
The trait of energetic listening is tightly connected to many of the other traits featured in this blog series. For example, one of the main reasons these children listen so well is because they hold themselves to such high standards with their learning and have such a strong desire to understand the content they encounter. These high standards also explain why successful students ask for help so freely when they don't initially understand something presented during a lesson. By listening well during instructional lessons, these students are prepared for the independent practice that usually follows the lessons. Showing drive and determination as a listener enables kids to show drive and determination as independent workers. Listening well during lessons, working with drive and determination during independent work time, asking for help whenever it's needed, and maintaining high personal standards along the way is a recipe for unparalleled success.