Listening is Learning
Lesson Guide

Section l: The Fennec Fox
Section 2: Listening
Section 3: Description


The Fennec Fox


A fun activity for younger children centers on the fennec fox. You can order your fennec fox poster (pictured above), certificates of participation, a fennec fox mask, and other materials from the DCMP.

The fennec fox, sometimes called the desert fox, is found in the African Sahara Desert. Its name comes from the Arabic word fanak, which means fox. It is dust colored, helping it blend into the desert.

The fennec fox is well known for its large ears, which can be half as long as its body. It has extraordinary hearing, sensitive enough to hear prey moving underground. But its ears also keep it cool by regulating body heat.

The fennec fox is the smallest fox in the world, growing to about 1 ½ feet high and weighing an average of 3 pounds. It has a remarkably long tail, which ranges in length from 7 to 12 inches. It also has a thick fur coat.

Learn more about the desert fox by visiting:

A-Z Animals

National Geographic






While most people hear, they do not always listen. The two terms, listening and hearing, are often used interchangeably but mean very different things. According to the International Listening Association: 1) 45 percent of a student’s day is spent listening; 2) Students are expected to acquire 85 percent of their new knowledge through listening, and; 3) Only 2 percent of the population ever received formal listening instruction.

It is difficult for those of us who hear to think of many tasks that do not seem to require hearing, but many people do not hear or do not hear well. The DCMP serves deaf and hard of hearing children, including those with cochlear implants who also need training in listening.

Teachers and parents should recognize that listening has to be learned. This is of obvious importance to auditory learners, for whom listening is learning. Not to mention that good listeners follow directions, understand expectations, are better motivated, communicate more clearly, and have higher academic performance. But while we teach children to talk and adults to speak in public, we don't teach listening. It's hardly surprising that many children are not very good at it.





Description is the verbal depiction of key visual elements in media and live productions. Also known as “audio description” or “video description,” the description of media involves the interspersion of these depictions with the program’s original audio.

As far back as 1964, advocates for accessibility envisioned the type of equal access that description could provide to people who are blind or visually impaired. Description also has roots in radio reading services for the blind, which began in Minnesota in 1969. In 1981 the radio reading service of Washington, D.C. is credited with the invention of the first ongoing audio description service. In the late 1980s, description service was introduced to television audiences and in 1997 to movie theatres. (For more on the history of description, read DCMP’s Description Timeline Highlights [PDF].

Description services are now routinely offered by several providers at movies, museums, and dance productions, as well as on television, to viewers with visual impairments. Known by several terms—“audio description,” “video description,” “descriptive video information,” “Descriptive Video Service™” and "DVS™," “narrative description,” and/or “descriptive video”—description is typically provided through a secondary audio channel or the Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) channel for analog television and ancillary audio services for DTV.

For sighted children, description offers a promise of a new way to promote literacy and learning. This is consistent with the pattern that repeats itself throughout the history of technological development; innovations and accommodations made for people with disabilities benefit many people without disabilities. Even Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone grew out of his efforts to assist people with hearing disabilities.

Activities |