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The Process of Listening

The Process of Listening

Listening, the most frequently used form of language skill, plays a significant role in daily communication and educational process.  In spite of its importance, listening ability development has received only slight emphasis in language instruction. 

Before talk about the process of listening Mcgraw (2004:49) identify four kinds of listening there are: 

1.      Appreciative listening —listening for pleasure or enjoyment, as when we lis-ten to music, to a comedy routine, or to an entertaining speech. 

2.      Empathic listening —listening to provide emotional support for the speaker, as when a psychiatrist listens to a patient or when we lend a sympathetic ear to a friend in distress. 

3.      Comprehensive listening —listening to understand the message of a speaker, as when we attend a classroom lecture or listen to directions for finding a friend’s house. 

4.      Critical listening —listening to evaluate a message for purposes of accepting or rejecting it, as when we listen to the sales pitch of a used-car dealer or the campaign speech of a political candidate.   

Although all four kinds of listening are important, this chapter deals primarily with comprehensive listening and critical listening. They are the kinds of listening you will use most often when listening to speeches in class, when taking lecture notes in other courses, when communicating at work, and when responding to the barrage of commercials, political messages, and other persuasive appeals you face every day. They are also the kinds of listening that are most closely tied to critical thinking.


Thanajaro (2000:17) Traditionally, many teachers have believed that listening is a natural skill that is developed by children on their own and that does not require teaching.  At all educational levels, listening has been the forgotten language skill for generations.  In spite of its importance, the listening skill has received little attention in language teaching and learning.  Not only has listening been neglected as an area of instruction in schools, listening has also been unattended as an area of research. One reason for the neglect of listening comprehension as a research area might be the lack of instruments to measure and evaluate listening, causing difficulties in concretely measuring and evaluating the skills in listening.

The differences between hearing and listening  Hearing  occurs  passively  and  involuntarily  as  sound  is  received  through  the  ear structures. This passive act does not involve the direction of attention to sound while Listening  is  an  active,  voluntary  process.  It  involves  selecting  sound  and  directing attention  to  focus.  Listening  involves  the  desire  to  communicate  and  the  ability  to focus on certain sounds for discrimination and interpretation, (Frick, 2001).

According to Studijos (2009:5) Listening comprehension is  an  interactive,  interpretive  process  where  listeners  use both  prior  knowledge  and  linguistic  knowledge  in understanding messages. In other words, both „top-down‟ and „bottom-up‟ processes are at work in the listening activity. It is a continuum where learners will lean towards one process or the other depending on their knowledge of the language, the topic or the listening objectives. If objectives are established before the listening task, learners have a purpose. They can become  selective  and  decide  which  of  the  two  processes will be activated.

There are some definitions about listening. It can be concluded that the students listen and understand the lectures. Teachers should teach the students appropriate listening strategies. There is no an ideal method that fits all kinds of classes.  But  we  should  find  our  students  limit,  diagnose  their  capacity,  and  find  out  the  factors  that  may influence  their  listening  comprehension.  Then  we  may  offer  them  to  complete  different  type  of  activities.  Listening tasks should involve progress from fundamental to more complex as the student obtains in language ability.


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