Listening with Intention

Educator listens with intention.
Made by Hope Street Group and Learning Forward

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator incorporates the skills associated with effective listening strategies into conversations.

Method Components

Effective Listening Strategies

Educator must include the following:

  • Honoring the speaker
    • Give speaker your full attention by focusing on them and what they are saying
    • Resist the urge to interject your own opinion
    • Don’t give advice or diminish the speaker’s experience or reactions
    • Ensure that the speaker is aware that you are listening, evidenced by your body language or nonverbal clues
  • Reflective listening and effective listening
    • Create a safe environment for all points of view to be shared and heard
    • Listen nonjudgmentally
    • Model thinking before answering and before asking additional questions
    • Become comfortable with wait time
    • Decrease distortion, bias, and deletion
    • Verify accuracy, especially when dealing with important information
    • Unpack and analyze data together
    • Acknowledge emotion
    • Build relationships and trust
  • Seeking to understand through clarifying questions
    • Ask contextually appropriate, deep, clarifying questions
    • Promote a culture of professional inquiry
    • Create a safe environment for all points of view to be shared and heard
  • Acknowledging and clarifying meaning
    • Seek clarification to ensure that there is collective understanding of key issues
    • Ask speakers to provide details or examples that support their position
  • Summarizing and organizing what has been stated
    • Paraphrase issues raised by stakeholders; be able to restate the essence of the message
    • Identify and confirm goals, values, beliefs, and assumptions of persons engaged in the conversation
    • Reflect speaker’s situation, emotion, or feeling accurately
    • In order to implement honoring the speaker, demonstrate these behaviors:
  • Make eye contact, nod, focus on the speaker
  • Make room for silence to ensure that the speaker has time to finish his/her thought
  • Acknowledge emotions

In order to implement reflective listening and effective listening, demonstrate these behaviors:

  • Wait before responding
  • Ask for more
  • Handle distractions
  • Focus on the message
  • Understanding does not necessarily mean agreeing
  • Avoid piggybacking and counterpointing

In order to implement seeking to understand through clarifying questions, use the following prompts:

  • What is your hunch about…
  • What is your intention about…
  • What would happen if…
  • What is the connection between… and …
  • What do you mean by…
  • What makes you think that…
  • What might the benefits of ______ be?
  • What would be an alternative to ________?

In order to implement acknowledging and clarifying meaning, use the following prompts:

  • You’re thinking that…
  • So, you’re wondering if…
  • You’re frustrated because…
  • You’re hoping that…
  • You’re concerned about…
  • So, a strong belief you have is…
  • An assumption you’re operating from is…
  • A goal for you is…

In order to implement summarizing and organizing what has been stated, use the following prompts:

  • So, there are three issues…
  • So, you’re ready to move on to…
  • First you’re going to… then you will…
  • On the one hand… and on the other hand…

Educators may also include evidence of the following skills, behaviors, or dispositions:

  • Creating conditions that promote deep listening
  • Reserving judgment (no judgments are included in the video)
  • Eliminating reactive responses (again, looking for evidence of something that is NOT here)
  • Shifting the level of logic of the speaker
  • Eliminating unproductive patterns of listening.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Abrams, J. (2009) Having Hard Conversations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Abrams, J. (2016) Hard Conversations Unpacked: The Whos, the Whens and the What-Ifs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Ellis, D. (2002). Falling Awake. Rapid City, Iowa: Breakthrough Enterprises.
  • Friedman, P., & Yarbrough, E. (1985). Training Strategies from Start to Finish (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Garmston, R. and Wellman, B. (2016). The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups (3rd edition). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Scott, S. (2004). Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time. New York: Berkley Books.
  • Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (2010). Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. New York: Penguin.


Additional resources are available via Dropbox. To access them, email

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3, and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview question

500-word limit

  • Why did you choose to incorporate the following effective listening strategies into the conversations you had?:
    • honoring the speaker
    • reflective listening and effective listening
    • seeking to understand through clarifying questions
    • acknowledging and clarifying meaning
    • summarizing
    • organizing

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts/Evidence

Educator demonstrates effective listening strategies in at least one video of a conversation with a coworker.

Video must include all of the following: honoring the speaker, reflective listening and effective listening, seeking to understand through clarifying questions, acknowledging and clarifying meaning, summarizing, and organizing what has been stated.

Note: One video generally cannot demonstrate all of these strategies.

Part 3. Reflection

750-word limit

  • Because the following skills are difficult to convey via video, reflect on how you incorporated the following into your videotaped conversation:
    • creating conditions that promote deep listening
    • reserving judgment
    • eliminating reactive responses
    • shifting the level of logic of the speaker
    • eliminating unproductive patterns of listening

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Listening with Intention
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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