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Concept of Listening

 Concept of Listening

1.      Definition of Listening

Listening has been defined in a variety of ways; however, it is posited that listening is the most important of all communication skills (Hunt & Cusella in Engen: 2012)

Bodie et. al (2008) point out listening as social information processing, language learning,listening as an ethical endeavor, listening as social interaction, and listening as experiential.

Jalongo (2010) listening is defined as  a form of communication that involves hearing, interpreting, and constructing meanings; an active process that is not limited to the spoken word;  and an essential way of participating in daily routines as well as wider decision-making processes

Studijos. (2009) is  a  complex  process  best  developed  by  consistent practice. Listening is the vital skill providing the basis for the successful communication and successful professional career. Effective listening skills enhance the ability to learn and adapt new information, knowledge, and skills. Listening comprehension is more than extracting meaning from incoming speech.  It is a process of matching speech with the background knowledge, i.e. what the listeners already know about the subject

2.      Kinds of Listening

Richards (2008) consider listening from two different perspectives:

a.       Listening as comprehension

Listening as comprehension is the traditional way of thinking about the nature of listening. Indeed, in most methodology manuals listening and listening comprehension are synonymous. This view of listening is based on the assumption that the main function of listening in second language learning is to facilitate understanding of  spoken  discourse.  We  will  examine  this  view  of  listening  in some  detail  before  considering  a  complementary  view  of  listening    listening as acquisition. This latter view of listening considers how listening can provide input that triggers the further development of second-language proficiency.

b.      Listening as acquisition

This  approach  to  teaching  of  listening  is  based  on  the  following

                Assumptions, Listening serves the goal of extracting meaning from messages, To do this, learners have to be taught how to use both bottom-up and top-down processes to understand messages, The language of utterances – the precise words, syntax, and expressions – used by speakers are temporary carriers of meaning. Once meaning is identified, there is no further need to attend to the form of messages unless problems in understanding occurred, Teaching listening strategies can help make learners more effective listeners


Mcgraw (2004:49) identify four kinds of listening there are:

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

b.      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. 

c.       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. 

d.      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.


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