Lesson Plan

Listening to What Matters

In this lesson, students will learn the importance of nonviolent communication and listening to others in order to have a more supportive community.
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Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to define "nonviolent communcation."
  • Students will be able to explain the importance of listening to their needs and the needs of others in order to strengthen friendships and build community.


(10 minutes)
Listening to What Matters and Using Requests
  • Before class, ask two student volunteers to come up to the front of the room with you and role-play miscommunication (without the rest of the class knowing). Ask them to disagree about what they would like to do during free time.
  • Afterwards, ask the class what each person may be feeling. What matters to one person? What matters to the other person? What does one person need? What does the other need?
  • Explain to students that using the strategy of listening to what matters can help us understand another person's point of view, instead of focusing on who is right and who is wrong, or what one person wants or does not want.
  • Ask the students what they think the term "nonviolent communication" means. Write their answers on the board.
  • Ask them what they think the opposite of nonviolent communication may be. (Examples: judging others, speaking with anger, etc.).
  • Write the definition of the term on the board: "Nonviolent communication (NVC) is listening to our own deeper needs and those of others, and speaking from a place of this understanding."
  • Explain to students that when we are upset, we can't always talk calmly with the other person and communicate our needs.
  • Ask the class, "What are some things we can do to calm ourselves before speaking?"
  • Brainstorm a list of strategies on the board.
  • Tell students, "One way we can communicate is to practice mindful breathing and calm down. Then, we can state what we see is happening, how we feel, our needs, and what we would like."
  • Explain that this strategy requires practice. Today we are going to be focusing on what we need, what matters to us, and what matters to others.