Listening is a skill which requires active participation. A student must listen skillfully if learning is to occur. Also, attitude is probably the most important element for active listening. So assume a positive attitude!! Convince yourself that the lecturer has something useful to share.
The student reveals a positive attitude by maintaining a pleasant facial expression. Keeping your eyes on the lecturer when not writing notes and nodding your head when you agree are both forms of active participation. As a result, you will notice a more enthusiastic flow of words and ideas.
Typical Student Listening Habits
|Bad Habits||Good Habits|
|1. Calling a subject dull. A poor listener will "turn off" as soon as s/he decides a lecture is going to be dull. (Such a decision is usually based on ignorance rather than knowledge.)||1. A good listener will listen closely for information that can be important or useful, even in a seemingly dull presentation.|
|2. Criticizing a speaker. A poor listener will find fault with the speaker (i.e., monotonous voice) and infer that the speaker can't have anything important to say.||2. A good listener will realize that a lecture is not a fashion show. S/he will look for ideas, not things to criticize.|
|3. Over-reacting. A poor listener will become so involved in disagreeing with the lecturer that s/he will miss most of the lecture.||3. A good listener will listen with the mind, not with the emotions....|
|4. Listening for facts only. A poor listener wants only facts and considers the "big picture" as nothing more than someone else's opinion.||4. A good listener wants to see how facts illustrate principles, how examples illustrate ideas, and how evidence supports arguments.|
|5. False attention. A poor listener will lock his/her eyes onto the speaker and then relax, expecting to retrieve information out of the text later, during study time.||5. A good listener realizes that each lecture is an opportunity to get (in a short time) facts and ideas that the speaker took hours to assemble.|
|6. Yielding to distractions. A poor listener will use every distraction -- footsteps, a door opening, a cough -- as an excuse to stop listening.||6. A good listener disciplines her or himself to shut out distractions and to concentrate on the speaker's message.|
|7. Limited lecture notes. A poor listener will neglect to take notes of main ideas and details.||7. A good listener will take notes as a reminder of key main ideas and details of what was said.|
|8. Few review sessions. a poor listener will neglect to review lecture notes periodically prior to testing.||8. A good listener will review notes soon after the lecture ends to ascertain clarity of notes.|
|9. Disregard questions asked by speaker during the lecture.||9. A good listener will note down all speaker's questions from lecture in the margins as possible questions for a later test.|