Learner as the Listener

Learner as the Listener

In the last post (see here https://www.timeless-teaching.com/learning-its-a-communication-thing/ )we were discussing what the responsibility of the teacher as a communicator is.  But as we said, you can only facilitate learning, you cannot force anything. On the learner-listener’s part there has to be a willingness to listen and a desire to get it right.

As a listener there are certain steps you want to take to try to improve successful communication.

All these steps hold true for the learner-listener.

They include:

  • Being prepared – this may include readings, homework, etc.
  • Be rested – listening is hard work, if you are tired you can’t listen well. To drive this point home, I have my speech pathology students do a project in which they have to wear ear plugs in a social setting for ½ hour (NOT while walking in the street as that is VERY dangerous).   They then have to write about their experience from a communicative and emotional perspective.  A common finding is how surprisingly exhausting listening is when you have to put more work into it.
  • Stay healthy – if you have ever had a bad cold you know how hard it is to concentrate on listening when you are not well.
  • Be relaxed – the perfectionistic student who takes dictation rather than notes (more on that later) and frantically interrupts the teacher’s lesson to catch a missed word may be hearing the teacher but isn’t listening to or understanding what the teacher is trying to communicate. The anxiety of hearing every word distracts from the listening.
  • Minimize environmental distractions as much as possible – this may include noise, poor lighting on the speaker, bright lights in the listener’s eyes, etc.
  • Look at the teacher-speaker.
  • Use context to figure out what was most likely said.
  • Use previous knowledge to figure out what was most likely said.
  • Look for ideas not isolated words – teach this tip to your dictation taker.
  • Confirm you understood correctly by rephrasing – “So what you are saying is…”
  • If you missed something, ask the teacher-speaker to repeat by telling them what you did hear and asking them to only fill-in the blanks. This shows you are putting some effort into the relationship and you do care.

Now that we know everyone’s responsibility what should we teach?  As a first step I would teach the listener their responsibility and how to optimize success, by utilizing the above.

Until next time…

   There is a key ingredient missing here.  Do you know what it is?



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