The Definiton of Listening
Listening is the first language mode that children acquire. It provides a foundation for all aspects of language and cognitive development, and it plays a life – long role in the processes of learning and communication essential to productive participation in life. A study by Wilt (1950), which found that people listen 45 percent of the time they spend communicating, is still widely cited (e.g., Martin, 1987; Strother, 1987). Wilt found that 30 percent of communication time was spent speaking, 16 percents reading, and 9 percent writing. That finding confirm what Rankin had found in 1928 that people spent 70 percent of their waking time communicating and those three-fourths of this time were spent listening and speaking.
If we ask a group of students to give a one – word description of listening, some would say hearing; however, hearing is physical. Listening is following and understanding the sound, it is hearing with a purpose. Good listening is built on three basic skills: attitude, attention, and adjustment. These skills are known collectively as triple-A listening.
Listening is the absorption of the meaning of words and sentences by the brain. Listening leads to the understanding of facts and ideas. However, listening takes attention, or sticking to the task at hand in spite of distruction. It requires concentration, which is focusing on thoughts upon one particular problem. A person who incorporates listening with concentration is actively listening. Active listening is a method of responding to another that encourages communication.
Listening means the psychomotor process of receiving sounds waves through the ear and transmiting nerve impulse to the brain (Douglas, 1994 : 235). Listening is more than merely hearing sounds. Listening is an active process by which students receive, construct meaning form, and respond to spoken and or non verbal messages (Emmert, 1994).
Ronald and Roskelly (1985) define listening as an active process requiring the same skills of prediction, hypothesizing, checking, revising, and generalizing that reading and writing demand; and they present specific exercises to make students active listeners to the same “inner voice” one hears when writing.
Listening comprehension is a classic (learn by doing” task. The learner must adopt the strategy of listening for key elements around which to construct meaning, all the way moving along with the flow of discourse. In reader mode, of course, one may rescan the text to solve difficulties, since the reader controls how information reaches the eyes. Listening is really quite different. You may read from left to right but you can’t listen from right to left. The instructor can not effectively ask the students to listen faster, nor does study of vocabulary and grammar produce direct improvement in hearing at the rate native speakers speak.
Listening is a core competency skill for relationships. As we become better skilled at listening, we uncover layers and layers of communication both in conversation and within ourselves. There is no communication that goes only one way, if we want to be heard we will practise hearing.
Listening is the basis of conflict resolution, the core of trust, and also central to the development of helthy self concept. It involves being in the moment, interpreting, and deferring judgement.
The followings are some definitions related to listening.
• Listening is a basis for communicating, learning, thinking, and acquiring awareness of the world around us.
• Listening needs to be taught
• Listening requires participation
• Listening is an information – processing activity
• Listening is more than just hearing; it is deciding what we listen to and how this can be done most effectively.
Wolvin and Coakley (1992) four different kinds of listening
• Comprehensive ( informational) Listening – students listen for the content of the message
• Critical (evaluative) Listening – students judge the message
• Appreciateive (aesthetic) Listening – students listen for enjoyment
• The rapeutic (empathetic) Listening – students listen to support others but not judge them
Factors which influence listening effectiveness
• The speaker
• The speech
• The situation and the listener
The principles of effective listening
• Preparing to listen
• Understanding the ideas of the speaker
• Evaluating the idea of the speaker
• Responding to the ideas of the speaker.
Developing Listening Skill
There are many ways of helping students to listen that can be integrated into the daily programs:
1. Give important instruction that the student should be expected to understand and remember
2. Ask the students to take message and carry out specific duties in the classroom
3. Invite other adults into the classroom to talk to the students.
4. Listen to and discuss sound – like a jet liner overhead, an ambulance siren, etc
5. Use the quite of story time to focus on specific sounds
6. Use songs and singing games to develop vocabulary and memory
The three basic Listening modes
1. Competitive or Combative Listening, happens when we are more interested in promoting our own point of view than in understanding or exploring someone else’s view. Either we listen for opening to take the floor, or for flaws or weak points we can attack. As we pretend to pay attention we are impatiently waiting for an opening, or internally formulating our rebuttal and planning our devastating comeback that will destroy their argument and make us the victor.
2. In Passive or Attentive Listening, we are genuinely interested in hearing and understanding the other person’s point of view. We are attentive and passively listen. We assume we heard and understand correctly, but stay passive and do not verify it.
3. Active or Reflective Listening, is the single most useful and important listening skill. In active listening wea re also genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting or what the message means, and we are active in checking out our understanding before we respond with our own new message. We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and make it effective.