Be There & Listen

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 2.50.46 PMGoal 24: Be There and Listen of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” ~ Larry King

This year’s 30 Goals Challenge theme is, “This is MY Moment.” Each goal focuses on getting educators to believe their plans of action now will lead to positive changes and transformation in their teaching and learning environments. Join our our 30 Goals Facebook community to vote on goals and receive support.

My Reflection

Sometimes, we get caught up with the curriculum and meeting objectives that we don’t make time to listen to our learners and be there for them. Our students don’t only have intellectual needs, they have developmental needs that many schools fail to attend to. Most kids will spend a majority of their developmental years in schools, so it is important we help students develop as a whole. Teachers can provide them with a safe forum to share their fears, frustrations, and questions. I have used hand-written journals and private online blogs to provide this forum. If the students want to make it public or share with their friends, they can. I don’t grade the journals for content. I check they are writing and I also give them 5 minutes at the beginning or end of class to work on it. I’ve learned a lot about their struggles and been able to help them along with a counselor. It’s not the only solution. Sometimes, if I see a student struggling or acting out in class, I will pull them aside privately and ask if something is bothering them. It has helped me alleviate behavior problems.

Goal– Take the time to be there and listen to one of your learners, another teacher, or someone who needs someone to be there.

Nearly 100 Free Tools and Apps to Develop Listening Skills

Another aspect of this goal is helping our learners become better listeners. Most people learn throughout their lives by listening to information and processing it. They listen to lectures, teachers, videos, and the radi0. They listen and gather information from their friends, parents, television, and movies. We rarely teach active listening in schools. Our students don’t know how to evaluate the information they hear, process it, assess if it is accurate, or store and categorize it into long-term memory to use when they need it. Teachers need to help students relate what they hear to their personal experiences and previous knowledge. They also need to help students develop listening skills. Developing listening skills takes listening practice. Many of the tools below can help learners get the practice they need in fun ways! There are over 90 tools and resource I have collected that are free. I have listed them at the bottom of this blog. I will continue adding to this of bookmarked listening tools.

Join a Massive Open Online Course. We are hosting the ELT Techniques free course which is taking place now till December. We are focusing helping English language teachers improve their students’ listening and pronunciation skills. You get a certificate for completing at least 4 sessions. My session on Listening Tools begins December 1st. 


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Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEdu, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, or adding a comment below! All goals are organized in this 30 Goals Livebinder.

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at

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