Jushabeth G. GarceraBSED-IIILISTENING SKILLS -listening skills plays an important role in most of the students for they spendsabout 14 hours per week in class listening or perhaps I should say “hearing”—there is adifference between them.Listening Starts EarlyIf you have children you know what its like to feel like youre talking to a wall. Kids have anuncanny ability to appear to be listening to you while actually paying no attention at all. Whilethis is something that may pass with age it is important to help children develop good listeningskills early. They will do better in school and you will keep your sanity. As the SCANS reportpoints out, good listening skills will prepare children to eventually succeed in the workforce. When you tell your child to do something, ask him to repeat your instructions; Teach your child to maintain eye contact when talking to or listening to someone; Read out loud to your child and then engage her in a conversation about what you have read; andEngage your child in age-appropriate activities that promote good listening skills.STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS: Maintain eye contact with the instructor. Of course you will need to look at your notebook to write your notes, but eye contact keeps you focused on the job at hand and keeps you involved in the lecture. Focus on content not on the delivery. Have you ever counted the number of items a teacher clears his/her throat in a fifteen minute period? If so, you weren’t focusing on content. Avoid emotional involvement. When you are too emotionally involved in listening, you tend to hear what you want to hear—not what is actually being said. Try to remain objective and open-minded. Avoid distractions. Don’t let your mind wander or be distracted by the person shuffling papers near you. If the classroom is too hot or too cold try to remedy that situation if you can. The solution may require that you dress more appropriately to the room temperature. Treat listening as a challenging mental task. Listening to an academic lecture is not a passive act—at least it shouldn’t be. You need to concentrate on what is said do that you can process the information into your notes. Stay active by asking mental questions. Active listening keeps you on your toes. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you listen. What key point is the professor making? How does this fit with what I know from previous lectures? How is this lecture organized? Use the gap between the rate of speech and your rate of thought. You can think faster than the lecturer can talk. That’s one reason your mind may tend to wander. All the above suggestions will help you keep your mind occupied and focused on what being said. You can actually begin to anticipate what the
professor is going to say as a way to keep your mind from staying. Your mind does have the capacity to listen, think, write and ponder at the same time, but it does take practice. Engage yourself. Ask questions for clarification, but, once again, wait until the speaker has finished. That way, you won’t interrupt their train of thought. After you ask questions, paraphrase their point to make sure you didn’t misunderstand. Start with: “So you’re saying…” Keep an open mind. Wait until the speaker is finished before deciding that you disagree. Try not to make assumptions about what the speaker is thinking.Why You Need Good Listening SkillsGood listening skills make workers more productive. The ability to listen carefully willallow you to: better understand assignments and what is expected of you; build rapport with co-workers, bosses, and clients; show support; work better in a team-based environment; resolve problems with customers, co-workers, and bosses; answer questions; and find underlying meanings in what others say.How to Listen WellThe following tips will help you listen well. Doing these things will also demonstrate tothe speaker that you are paying attention. While you may in fact be able to listen whilelooking down at the floor, doing so may imply that you are not. maintain eye contact; dont interrupt the speaker; sit still; nod your head; lean toward the speaker; repeat instructions and ask appropriate questions when the speaker has finished.A good listener knows that being attentive to what the speaker doesnt say is asimportant as being attentive to what he does say. Look for non-verbal cues such as facialexpressions and posture to get the full gist of what the speaker is telling you.Barriers to ListeningBeware of the following things that may get in the way of listening. bias or prejudice; language differences or accents; noise; worry, fear, or anger; and lack of attention span.
IMPROVING LISTENING SKILLSWhat are three types of effective listening?1. ParaphrasingTo paraphrase, one simply rewords what another individual has said. For example, thespeaker might say, "She was foolish to quit her job." The listener might respond, "I hearyou saying that you believe she shouldnt have quit." What has occurred is paraphrasingwhere the listener has clarified what the speaker has said.2. Open QuestionsAn open question explores a persons statement without requiring a simple "yes" or"no" answer. The basic difference between an open question and a closed question iswhat they provide the person being asked. When you are asked an open question ithelps you think more about an issue. A closed question will not do that. It may force youto answer before you are ready, or require a "yes" or "no" answer that doesnt allowmore thinking about the issue. Closed questions close the door on further thought,while open questions open the door. For example, the speaker might say, "I dont likemy job." The listener might respond, "What about your job dont you like?" or, "Tell memore about your feelings regarding your job."3. Feeling ReflectionFeeling reflection is a response in which you express a feeling or emotion you haveexperienced in reference to a particular statement. For example, the speaker might say,"I get sick of working so much overtime!" The listener might respond, "I hear you feelingangry and resentful at being asked to work so much overtime." Feeling reflections areperhaps the most difficult active listening responses to make. Not only do you activelylisten to what is being said but also you actively listen for what is being felt. When youmake a feeling reflection, you are reflecting back what you hear of anothers feelings. Itis similar to paraphrasing; however, you repeat what you heard them feeling instead ofwhat you heard them saying. To understand what individuals are feeling, you mustlisten to their words, to their tone of voice, and watch their body signals. By observingall three you can begin to guess their feelings.* Listen carefully so that you will be able to understand, comprehend and evaluate.Careful listening will require a conscious effort on your part. You must be aware of theverbal and nonverbal messages (reading between the lines).* Be mentally and physically prepared to listen. Put other thoughts out of your mind.Your attention will be diverted from listening if you try to think of answers in advance.* You cant hear if you do all the talking.* Think about the topic in advance, if possible. Be prepared to listen.* Listen with empathy. See the situation from the others point of view. Try to putyourself in their shoes.* Be courteous; dont interrupt. Take notes if you worry about forgetting a particularpoint.* Avoid stereotyping individuals by making assumptions about how you expect them toact. This will bias your listening.* Listen to how something is said. Be alert for what is left unsaid.* Make certain everyone involved gets an opportunity to voice their opinions. Dont letone person dominate the conversation.* Face those you are talking with, lean slightly forward and make eye contact. Use your
body to show your interest and concern.Roadblocks to Effective ListeningThe following types of responses indicate ineffective listening:* warning * labeling * demanding * advising* interrogating * moralizing * interpreting * criticizing* preaching * probing * teaching * directing* ordering * ridiculing * withdrawing * lecturing* judging * threatening * giving * name-calling* diverting * reassuring solutions* analyzing * distracting * scolding* blaming * sympathizing * praisingReasons to Improve Listening Skills* To avoid saying the wrong thing, being tactless* To dissipate strong feelings* To learn to accept feelings (yours and others)* To generate a feeling of caring* To help people start listening to you* To increase the other persons confidence in you* To make the other person feel important and recognized* To be sure you both are on the same wavelength* To be sure you both are focused on the same topic* To check that you are both are on target with one anotherREACTION: Listening is different from hearing because most of us people have a sense ofhearing. The only difference is that, we hear something but we do not guarantee thatwe are paying attention to what we hear. In short, we are not listening attentively. Sometimes, we do not listen because of so many distractions; we are pre-occupied, hungry and if there is no comprehension. As a result to these, we do not getthe main point, the information that is trying to convey to us. By that, there are stillsolutions to that. And that is the strategies that I’ve given above. We only have to focuson that. And we should really avoid those distractions in our environment or anythingthat can distract our focus.