Listening is most rightly considered a forgotten art. With the advent of technology and learning advancements, we have set ourselves away from this required skill. There are occasions that make us realise that we have been mistaken in ignoring Listening as a part of our Communication. Seldom have we seen the epidemic of poor communication around us.
The education that we are imparting and getting from the modern era academies of educational business is fit for the jobs but not for life. One thing that we need to question and counter is that jobs cannot sustain without making life sustain.
We have come a long way in developing modern age curricula and there is no doubt that excellence has been the core idea and income of this. We have neglected the heterogeneity of learners but have got stuck to the hybrid ways of educating. Listening used to be the premier of all Life Skills. The fundamental principle of learning a language also cites LISTENING (LSRW-Listening-Speaking-Reading-Writing) as the first agent of learning.
The question arises whether we know what Listening is? Do we know how to inculcate and then further enhance Listening Competence? What are the components of Listening?
Listening is Hearing with Comprehension. Without understanding the retention will remain useless. We know this. However, we do not utilise this. We do not pay attention to the efforts done by a communicator and as communicator also, we do not add efforts to make our message comprehensible.
We have people around us and we listen to a great deal of language. A variety of texts and speeches reach us from all sides. Apart from humans, we have print and electronic medium to facilitate the journey of language to us. There are scripts, sounds, accents, stress and intonation patterns, connotations intentions and intuitions in the communication we do through ‘Listening’.
The first thing to remember is that Listening is an interpretative skill. The IELTS, TOEFL and other ‘Linguistic Ability’ tests keep Listening Comprehension as an integral part of the examination. Without doing fairly well in Listening, it is least possible to get good returns in the assessment. The creation of a meaningful discourse is possible only when the act of listening fulfils the criteria of establishing a meaningful connection with the other pole of interaction.
Listening is often described as a Skill that can be imparted, earned and enhanced as well. Informally, practitioners divide listening into Attentive, Reflective, Pretended, Selective, Appreciative, Informative, Critical, Empathetic, Precision, Discriminative and Comprehensive etc. Listening creates a meaningful discourse.
The following are the sub-skills of listening:
- Preparing to listen
- Identifying main ideas
- Identifying supporting detail/examples
- Using background knowledge to aid comprehension
- Taking notes from lectures/presentations
- Identifying specific information
- Understanding instructions and explanations
- Guessing the meaning of unknown words/phrases
- Recognizing words/phrases in connected speech
- Understanding evaluative language
- Understanding attitudes
- Understanding opinion
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