Listening | StudyTution

 the four skills of language

  • They are listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • People who are good listeners generally tend to become good speakers.
  • And people who are good at reading and develop the reading skill also become good at writing.

 why is listening important.

  • Only when we listen, we tend to understand, we
    comprehend, and then only we will assimilate ideas, thoughts that are spoken.
  • It is also important because listening leads to thinking.
  • When we are listening to somebody, it is already triggered some thought process, and you want to know what they would be saying next and what are the kind of things we are going to learn today.
  • So listening definitely leads to some thinking happening.
  • And thinking then leads to decision making
  • So actually research shows that poor listening habits and skills can cause as many failures of communication as ineffective expression of ideas. To expand on this, what

how poor listening habits and skills can cause failures of communication?

  • people who are poor at listening, they will not be able to
    communicate because they have not listened to what somebody has said.
  • Let us take the example of the classroom.
  • So in the classroom if a student has exhibited poor listening habit and has not paid attention to what the teacher or the lecturer is saying, they will be not able to communicate effectively in a test, a written test or an oral test, they will not be able to express their ideas well. So successful listening in that sense is not a passive act.
  • It involves active processing, reformulation and revision.
  • See when we come into the classroom, we already have some idea about what we are going to listen to.
  • So in that sense, we are not a blank slate.
  • So we are we come with a certain idea or certain concept in our head, and when the teacher starts talking about it, then those ideas get added.
  • So in that sense, it is not a passive act.
  • So that is where we say you are processing, you are reformulating.
  • So you already have some idea or some thoughts
    about that topic.
  • So listening is the first language skill, right. Most children come to school, armed

Listening The First Language Skill

  • Almost all of us were born doing listening.
  • Indeed for the first few years of formal education, listening is an integral part of teaching.
  • So, children who have gone through a good amount of their time, classroom time listening, they will do very well in future.
  • till they are in first and second grade, students start reading, and slowly the read-aloud books and story time are phased out, replaced instantly by silent reading.
  • So when this transition happens, they have not sufficiently prepared we can say to transit from listening.
  • They come to the school; they are just listening.
  • But immediately the schools and the formal system is in a hurry to introduce speaking, to introduce reading, and also writing.
  • So in all this, listening actually takes a backseat.
  • The teachers only want them to listen to their instructions.
  • But they are not exposed to listening in a very focused

what do we listen for?

1.Understanding detailed information for a purpose

  • So first, we listen to understand detailed information for a purpose.
  • Can understand straightforward factual information about common topics.
    Understand simple technical information.
  • When you go to a computer class, you are sitting there and listening for how to operate a computer, how to go into the internet, how to log in, how to log out.
  • So basic, simple information.
  • So that is detailed information for a purpose.
  • You check-in into a hotel; they give you information, you know, take the key, this is the floor, this is how you go into the room.
  • These are the facilities available.
  • So there is a purpose behind which you know, you are standing there and listening.
  • And you must have realized when you fail to do that, you go to the room, and there are so many questions.
  • But all those questions have actually been answered at the reception, but you have not paid attention.
  • So that is very specific information that we are listening to.

2.Understanding and interpreting a range of features of context

  • The second is understanding and interpreting a range of features of context.
  • Basically, it means if there is a discussion. If three or four of us, you are sitting together and talking about something.
  • There is a discussion happening on the political situation, on an economic issue or general discussion on fashion.
  • Then to be able to follow the discussion of what each person sitting there is saying, what each point of view is, and how the discussion is proceeding.
  • Only then you can be part of the discussion.
  • I am sure many times you have felt sitting in you know conversation group where there are five or six people, and you do not know what they are talking about, and you are not aware of that topic, then you just become a quiet part of the whole group, and you are not able to contribute to the discussion.
  • The reason being either you do not have the required language for that topic because you have not listened on that topic in the past, right.
  • So these could be the reasons why, you know, you are today unable to follow the main points of an extended discussion.

3.Understanding the topic and main points

  • why we listen, understanding the topic and the main points.
  • This happens when we are listening to a news bulletin
  • for example, on a television or a or radio even, right.
  • So if they are talking about an election result, so that is the main topic, and then under that, what else is the information that the newsreader is conveying to you.
  • So that is where there comes the main topic.
  • Then it has subtopics.
  • There will be news on, for example, foreign news, local, political, economic
  • . So the main topic is the news for the day, and under this, there could be a variety of subtopics.
  • Now there could be out of this only one that actually interests you.
  • So you may pay attention to that one area.
  • So if you are interested in politics, for example, you may pay attention to that particular news.
  • So you will get exposed to the language, the words, the expressions that are specific
  • to political news.
  • That is called jargon, the political jargon.
  • The term that we use for any particular set of words and expressions, which are used for one area, they are called the jargon, right.

4.Distinguishing main points from sub points

  • The other thing that we listen to is to be able to distinguish the main points from sub- points.
  • For Example Talking about listening; developing, listening as a skill.
  • Under that, we have discussed various sub-points.
  • Under each sub-point, we are further discussing examples, further going deeper into the understanding.
  • So there are main points, and there are sub-points.
  • This usually happens in a lecture or in a talk where you have gone for a particular talk because you are familiar with the subject matter, but you want to know more about that topic.
  • So you go and sit in that lecture.
  • So there is the main topic that the speaker talks about.
  • And then he further takes you into the other aspects of the topic.

what do we listen for?

  • We listen for comprehending or comprehension, and we listen for acquisition.
  • So listening and listening comprehension are the same thing.
  • It is believed that people listen for understanding the spoken language.
  • Imagine yourself in a situation where you are sitting among people who do not speak the language you understand.
  • And you have to sit there for an hour or so.
  • So would it not be a strange situation that you have got yourself into where you do not understand what the other person is speaking.
  • So when we listen, the urge to comprehend and to understand is very strong.
  • So that is what is listening for comprehension.
  • And when we say listening for acquisition, it is at a little you know higher level.
  • It means listening will provide us with inputs for developing our second language skills.
  • We listen for specific words.
  • we listen to acquire the vocabulary of that language, words, phrases, and how to use them.
  • So when you listen to a speaker, you also try to get those expressions, the style of using, in what context those words and expressions are being used.
  • And probably if you have used them in the past and made some mistakes,oh, okay, so this is how I am supposed to use it.
  • That understanding also comes.
  • The challenge of listening actually is the manner in which the speaker is delivering the spoken language, the pronunciation, intonation, and above all, speed of delivery.
  • So this is something that we all face on a day to day basis, especially in a country like India, where the regional language influence is very strong.
  • So there might be two people conversing in a room who come from one from the southern part of India and one from the northern part of India.
  • So they will have their own mother tongue influence when they deliver English.
  • Their pronunciation will have that influence.
  • Their intonation pattern may have, and their speed of delivery could not be as it should be for the English language.
  • So these are the things that distract, that becomes a challenge, and you might find that you do not follow the speaker.
  • So now, when we listen to somebody, we need to pay attention to the way they pronounce the words.

Moving From Language To Meaning Comprehension

  • When we say that we are comprehending a language, it first starts with understanding sounds.
  • From sounds, you move to words.
  • From words, you move to clauses.
  • And from clauses to sentences and from the sentence to the text. And there where you will know whether actually the meaning has been derived, whether you have understood.
  • it starts with the smallest unit, which is the sound.
  • And from there, you finally reach the entire talk that is delivered.
  • So it is we can also call it the bottom-up approach.

Moving From Meaning To Language Acquisition

  • Then when we say moving from meaning to language, which is acquisition.
  • For this, the listener needs to have background knowledge of the topic of discourse.
  • For example, and if somebody says that there is a lecture on nanotechnology and I have to go and sit in that lecture, I need to have some understanding of what nanotechnology is.
  • Unless and until I have that background knowledge, I may find myself groping in the dark.
  • After 15 minutes, I might become disinterested in what the speaker is saying.
  • He might be the best speaker on that topic.
  • But because I do not have the background knowledge, I kind of fail to understand what the speaker is talking about.

understand both the processes.

  • That is comprehension and acquisition.
  • The situation is visiting a doctor.
  • So your friend tells you she is going to visit a doctor in the evening, as she has been having a stomach ache.
  • She tells you that the pain is very severe.
  • Now when we talk of from the comprehension process point, the  words and expressions here are  Stomachache, visit the doctor, in the evening, severe pain.
  • So these four, five words, these are chunks that help you identify the underlying meaning of the words right, these words express.
  • So you catch on to these words, you latch on to these words, and you try to understand the whole discourse of what your friend is saying.
  • So once she tells you that she has a stomachache and she is planning to go to the doctor in the evening, actually after that many times we even switch off.
  • She goes on to tell you more in detail about what has been happening, why it has been happening, and you are actually not paying attention.
  • And you realize that after a few minutes, if she tells you, hey, where are you?
  • Oh, I did not pay attention; I only know that you are going to the doctor.
  • Probably you have stopped processing once you know the main information was kind of given to you, right.

Now looking at the second process.

  • The situation is, I heard on the TV last night that
    Japan has suffered an earthquake.
  • As many as 200 people were killed. Now the
    moment the word earthquake is uttered, what happens? It triggers a set of questions
    that come to your mind. Where exactly was the earthquake? How big was it? Did it
    cause a lot of damage?
  • What are rescue efforts underway?
  • So here because the earthquake is something that you know about, you know about earthquakes, you know why it happens, you know that there is a tectonic shift maybe, you know all that.
  • So the moment the word earthquake is uttered, immediately there are questions that come to your head, right.
  • So these questions guide us through the understanding of any subsequent spoken discourse that one will hear.
  • So already these questions have come up in your mind, and you are waiting for the speaker to give out this information.
  • So as the speaker continues, it is literally like filling in the blanks.
  • So the first one is called the bottom-up approach.
  • The second one is called the top- down approach.
  • When we start listening to a language for the first time, we use, we tend to use the bottom-up approach to listening.
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