Practicing Listening: Using A News Video Clip

Brief Description/Purpose

To allow participants to practice their listening skills  but more importantly to show how what each hears from the same "thing" can be quite different than what other people hear.


Media exercise, group discussion

Age Appropriate

All ages

Ideal Group Size

Any size group

Time For Exercise

About 3 minutes for the video, and 20 minutes or so for debrief


Listening, communication skills, subjectivity

Detailed Instructions If Needed

Pick a video clip from the news, or a documentary. Try to pick one that has several main themes. About 3-4 minutes is good.

Show the video, asking participants to watch or listen carefully.

After the showing, here are some debrief questions:

  • What was the main point the speaker made?
  • Was listening difficult for you?
  • What did you hear from the speaker?
  • What was the speaker trying to achieve?
  • What was the emotional state of the speaker?
  • Did the visuals (picture) make it more or less difficult to listen?

Additional Information if Available

This can be a very powerful exercise with a lot of variants. For example, rather than using a video clip, use an audio one, or use one medium, then the other. Try to have people compare what they "heard" to others in the group.