- The meaning of listening skills for students and its importance
- Factors affecting listening skills in students
- Ways to improve listening skills in students.
Very often, listening has been loosely defined as hearing. However, there is a world of difference between the two. Especially when it comes to listening skills in students, the word listening takes on a whole new intent.
Through this article we have attempted to define listening skills and stress on the importance of listening skills for students.
Listening skills can be defined as the art of receiving information, interpreting and communicating it.
Without effective listening skills the whole communication channel breaks down. This is why listening skills are important. It forms an integral part of the communication process.
Here is an example of what could happen if a student does not listen. In a classroom set up, if a student does not listen to a lecture, the subject matter being taught in that lecture may be misconstrued or not understood at all by the student. Here, the problem is twofold.
One – the impact of not listening in the class will be felt later when the student has to study the concept or during an examination.
Two – the opportunity to clear doubts while the lecture is going on is totally lost.
Going beyond the classroom scene, listening skills are important in the workplace and everywhere in life.
Without listening skills, you may not be able to effectively communicate with people around you.
Being able to communicate with people is one of the foremost steps to success.
Some Interesting Research Statistics on Listening
Research suggests that people spend about 55% of the time in a day listening and people are able to listen to about 450 words in a single minute.
An interesting study by Dr. Micheal Philips, neuro audiologist at Indiana University School of medicine, found that there is a difference in listening skills amongst men and women. The study revealed that while listening, men used only the left brain hemisphere while women used both hemispheres of the brain.
According to Owen Hargie, Emeritus Professor of Communication at Ulster University, in his book Skilled Interpersonal Interaction: Research, Theory, and Practice, he states that on an average workers spend 55% of their workday listening and managers spend about 63% of their day listening.
Types of Listening
There Are Two Types of Listening, Namely Active Listening and Passive Listening
Active listening is the act of listening with intent, understanding and interpreting the words of the speaker. Here, the listener is able to interpret what the speaker is saying irrespective of whether the listener agrees with the speaker or not. Active listening does not mean you must understand or agree with the speaker.
For example, you may be listening to a lecture in class, but do not quite understand the concept. This does not mean you are not an active listener.
It only means that you need the concept to be explained again for better understanding. Here, you were an active listener, but you needed a breakdown of the concept in simpler terms.
Passive listening means when the act of listening is a secondary function and not your primary action. For example, writing something while the lecture is going on, texting while the class is functioning.
Here, the student is able to listen and may also be able to repeat the words of the speaker but it happens as a sensory function and does not necessarily mean that the student has understood the words of the speaker.
Notice the difference between the two and gauge for yourself, the type of listening skill that needs to be developed.
5 Amazing Benefits of Listening Skills:
There are many reasons why listening skills are important. Enlisted here below are some of the benefits of effective listening.
1. Listening Skills Improve Language
One of the benefits of listening skills is that it improves language. As you listen, so shall you learn. Listening to lectures and talk shows introduces you to new vocabulary.
You may say that reading has the same effect. Yes, you are right, but when you read books you tend to read books in the language script you are comfortable with, giving you less exposure than when you listen to someone speak.
People speak in different languages and introduce you to new words every day. You meet different people from different walks of life, thereby introducing you to a whole new world out there.
2. Listening Skills Gets You Prepared
The importance of listening in communication is that it prepares you for a conversation. While you listen, you are already formulating replies for the discussion.
Listening involves understanding and interpretation and finally prepares you with related content.
3. Listening Skills Makes You Empathetic
When you listen to another you portray the beautiful virtue of empathy. Empathy is the ability to show concern towards the feelings of another.
A good listener will never suggest or give advice before hearing the speaker completely.
There are three types of empathy, namely cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and empathic concern. All these three types of empathy require the skill of listening. Without this listening skill, the virtue of empathy is lost.
Emotional empathy is the ability to feel the spiritual and inner feeling of another. One can feel the emotional empathy of another only by listening to the person.
Cognitive empathy is the potential to analyse and perceive the other person’s side of the story. This type of cognitive empathy can also be achieved only through the power of listening.
Empathetic concern is the kind of power needed to realise how the other person wants you to react in a particular situation.
It can be seen that the power of listening is so important when it comes to building empathy.
4. When You Listen, You Become More Productive
Listening to instructions regarding small details of the project work you are supposed to submit, will enable you to get the job done perfectly.
You May Also Like The 14 Best Productivity Apps for Students
5. Enhanced Listening Skills Promote Better Socialisation.
There is no one in the world who lives alone. Everyone needs to interact with others in order to live a full life. Good listening skills promote better socialising skills.
At times, listening is all you need to help someone. Listening is a virtue of the heart and a genuine desire to be with another, therefore increasing your social circle.
Developing listening skills is not an overnight mission. It must be developed over time. Now that we know the important role of listening in communication, we should know how to harness or develop this predominant skill of communication.
Here Are Some Ways To Develop Good Listening Skills
1. Always Assume a Double Role
When we say double role, we mean, always put yourself in the speaker’s position. When you do this, you understand the feeling and the emotions of the speaker.
It gives the speaker a sense of pride, knowing that he or she is being listened to. The same feelings will be reciprocated to you when you are the speaker.
2. Physical Behaviour
When the speaker is talking, always maintain eye contact with the speaker. Also, good posture is another way you can improve your listening skills.
When you maintain eye contact with good posture you remain less distracted with your surroundings, thereby giving full attention to the speaker and improving listening skills in the bargain.
3. Never Interrupt
It is a known fact that one should never interrupt a speaker. Listen till the end. This shows due respect to the speaker. When a speaker is interrupted it cuts the flow of thought and it becomes very difficult to continue.
At times, listening does not only refer to a function of the ears and the brain. You can listen with your eyes too.
We mean to say that many times, speakers have certain expressions and body language that contribute to the underlying meaning of what they are trying to convey.
So, remember, in order to improve listening skills, it is also necessary to observe the speaker.
5. Never Form a Preconceived Notion
When you listen to a speaker, never be biased or prejudiced against the speaker or his or her content. Always listen with an open mind.
Do not form a one sided opinion while listening. Having a preconceived notion always hampers your power to listen.
Now that we have enumerated the reasons why listening is important, we must make it a point to develop these skills.
The art of listening invariably develops the art of speaking as well. The main mistake people make today is listening half, understanding quarter and talking double.
On a humorous note – we have two ears and one mouth to listen more and talk less.