Classroom Listening

Huh? What’d you just say?

The two main goals of listening in a classroom are to understand the message that is being sent, and to be able to use that information at a future time, such as for an exam. Another name for this kind of listening is Informational Listening. Being able to understand the message and to use the information later can be enhanced by using several techniques.

Classroom Listening – 6 Ways to Improve Yours

The first technique is to improve your memory. There are many systems that are used for improving memory, and you should be able easily to find several of them by looking in the library, but what we want to mention here is something about forgetfulness. Probably the main reason we forget things is that we haven’t paid attention in the first place. The most important things that can help you pay attention and thus reduce forgetting are motivation and practice. Your motivation is probably already in place in your desire to earn a good grade. Reducing forgetfulness can be helped by the next techniques.

The second technique that can improve your ability to listen for information is to develop a large vocabulary. Noting words you don’t understand and asking about them, or looking them up in a dictionary later will help to increase your vocabulary. (The word-a-day calendars are a fun way to learn new words.) Keep a list of words you look up and watch the list grow. Practice using the new words when you can. Once you can use the word, it will be solidly in your vocabulary.

A third technique is to be curious and listen to the speaker as if the information is the most fascinating subject you have heard. Your curiosity should carry you along mentally because of the questions you are asking–even if you only ask the questions in your mind.

A fourth technique is to overcome the tendency to judge the speaker rather than the information. Every time you "attend" to what the speaker is wearing, or what his or her hair looks like, or how he or she speaks (too fast, too slow, too high, too low, etc.), you have lost valuable time that should be going to the other techniques.

The fifth way is to develop strong notetaking skills. Reviewing what you write down sparks your memory for what you heard.

And finally, concentration skills help tremendously. Learning how to maintain concentration and how to utilize the technique of the speech-thought time differential will increase your listening efficiency.