Listening is giving attention to a sound.[1] When listening, a person hears what others are saying and tries to understand what it means.[2]

Listening in conversation.

Listening involves complex affective, cognitive, and behavioral processes.[3] Affective processes include the motivation to listen to others; cognitive processes include attending to, understanding, receiving, and interpreting content and relational messages; and behavioral processes include responding to others with verbal and nonverbal feedback.

Listening is a skill for resolving problems. Poor listening can lead to misinterpretations, thus causing conflict or dispute. Poor listening can be exhibited by excessive interruptions, inattention, hearing what you want to hear, mentally composing a response, or having a closed mind.[4]

Listening is also linked to memory. According to one study, when there were background noises during a speech, listeners were better able to recall the information in the speech when hearing those noises again. For example, when a person reads or does something else while listening to music, he or she can recall what that was when hearing the music again later.[5]

Listening also functions rhetorically as a means of promoting cross-culture communication. Ratcliffe built her argument upon two incidents in which individuals demonstrated a tendency to refuse the cross-cultural discourses.[clarification needed][6]

What is listening? edit

Listening begins by hearing a speaker producing the sound to be listened to. A semiotician, Roland Barthes, characterized the distinction between listening and hearing. "Hearing is a physiological phenomenon; listening is a psychological act."[7] People are always hearing, most of the time subconsciously. Listening is done by choice. It is the interpretative action taken by someone in order to understand, and potentially make sense of, something they hear.[7]

Listening differs from obeying. A person who receives and understands information or an instruction, and then chooses not to comply with it or not to agree to it, has listened to the speaker, even though the result is not what the speaker wanted.[8]

How does one listen? edit

Listening may be considered as a simple and isolated process, but it would be more precise to perceive it as a complex and systematic process. It involves the perception of sounds made by the speaker, of intonation patterns that focus on the information, and of the relevance of the topic under discussion.[9]

People listen for 45 percent of their time when they communicate.[10]

According to Barthes, listening can be understood on three levels: alerting, deciphering, and understanding how the sound is produced and how it affects the listener.[7]

The first level involves detection of environmental sound cues. Certain places have certain sounds associated with them. For example, a home has certain sounds associated with it that makes it familiar and comfortable to the occupant. An intrusion—a sound that is not familiar (e.g., a squeaking door or floorboard, a breaking window)—alerts whoever lives there to potential danger.
The second level involves detecting patterns when interpreting sounds; for example, a child waiting for the sound of his mother's return home. In this scenario the child is waiting to pick up on sound cues (e.g., jingling keys, the turn of the doorknob, etc.) that signal his mother's approach.
The third level means knowing how what one says will affect another. This sort of listening is important in psychoanalysis, the study of the unconscious mind. According to Barthes, the psychoanalyst must suspend judgment while listening to the patient in order to communicate with the latter's unconscious without bias. In the same way, lay listeners must suspend judgment when listening to others.

All three levels of listening function within the same plane[clarification needed], and sometimes all at once. The second and third levels overlap and intertwine, in that obtaining, understanding, and deriving meaning are part of the same process. In this way anyone, on hearing a doorknob turn (obtaining), can almost automatically assume that someone is at the door (deriving meaning).

Active listening edit

Active listening involves listening to what is being said and attempting to understand it. It can be described in many ways. Active listening requires that the listener be attentive, nonjudgmental, and non-interrupting. An active listener analyzes what the speaker is saying for its implicature or subtext as well as for meanings contained explicitly in the verbal communication. An active listener looks for nonverbal messages from the speaker in order to comprehend the full meaning of what is being said.[11] Active listening has many benefits. It is more effective listening. It also strengthens one's leadership skills.[12]

Active listening is an exchange between two or more individuals. If they are active listeners, the quality of the conversation will be better and clearer. Active listeners connect with each other on a deeper level[clarification needed] in their conversations.[12] Active listening can create a deeper, more positive relationship between individuals.[13]

Active listening changes the speaker's perspective. Active listening is a catalyst in one's personal growth, which enhances[specify] personality change and group development. People will more likely listen to themselves if someone else is allowing them to speak and get their message across.[13]

Active listening allows people to be present in a conversation. "Listening is a key factor in cultivating relationships because the more we understand the other person, the more connection we create, as taught in nonviolent-communication Dharma teachings. As someone recently stated, 'We should listen harder than we speak.'"[14]

In language learning edit

Along with speaking, reading, and writing, listening is one of the "four skills" of language learning. All language-teaching approaches, except for grammar translation, incorporate a listening component.[15] Some teaching methods, such as total physical response, involve students simply listening and responding.[16]

In "intensive listening" learners attempt to listen with maximum accuracy to a relatively brief sequence of speech; in "extensive listening" learners listen to lengthy passages for general comprehension. While intensive listening may be more effective for developing specific aspects of listening ability, extensive listening is more effective in building fluency and maintaining learner motivation.[17]

People are usually not conscious of how they listen in their first, or native, language unless they encounter difficulty. A research project focused on facilitating language learning found that L2 (second language) learners, in the process of listening, make conscious use of whatever strategies they unconsciously use in their first language, such as inferring, selective attention, or evaluation.[9]

Factors activated in speech perception include phonetic quality, prosodic patterns, pausing, and speed of input. These all influence the comprehensibility of listening input. A common store of semantic information (single)[clarification needed] in memory is used in both first- and second-language speech comprehension, but research has found separate stores of phonological information (dual)[clarification needed] for speech. Semantic knowledge required for language understanding (scripts[ambiguous] and schemata related to real-world people, places, and actions) is accessed through phonological tagging of whatever language is heard.[18]

In a study, involving 93 participants, investigating the relationship between second-language listening and a range of tasks, it was discovered that listening anxiety was a major obstacle to developing speed and explicitness in second-language listening tasks. Additional research explored whether listening anxiety and comprehension are related, and as the investigators expected they were negatively correlated.[19]

Rhetorical listening edit

Background edit

Krista Ratcliffe contended that much literacy teaching in the U.S. emphasizes classical Western rhetorical theory that foregrounds speaking and writing but ignores listening.[6] These theories mainly focus on how the rhetor's speech can persuade the audience. The goal of classical rhetoric studies was to address what the audience should listen for, rather than how they listen.[6]

Shari Stenberg extended this perspective to explicate the absence of listening in the academe.[20]

Western teaching methods maintained the inherited rhetorical Greek noun logos, which means reasoning and logic, while ignoring its verb legein that refers to speaking as well as, in etymological term, to lay down, to listen.[6][20] Listening may occur within two different stances: the divided logos and the restored logos. These differ in how they (re)shape the functions and outcomes of listening. The hearer listens in the divided logos while simultaneously producing their responses to the speaker. Whereas within the restored logos, the listener exploits the listening time to live in someone's else experiences, then reflect on, and make meanings, to offer a response.[6][20]

An example of divided logos was Aristotle's theory.[21] Despite its concern with teaching students the oral discourse that mandates listening to produce and analyze enthymemes, listening was displaced and diminished.[6] The attention given to speaking without listening "perpetuates a homogenized mode of speech based on competition rather than dialogue."[20] Ratcliffe attributed this listening neglect to Western cultural biases that are represented as: 1) speaking is gendered as masculine while listening as feminine; 2) Listening is subjugated to ethnicity: white people speak while people of color listen; in other words, in cross-cultural relationships, there is one superior member in the conversation who does not need to listen as closely;[clarification needed][22] 3) Western culture prefers to depend on sight, not sound, as its primary interpretative trope.[6]

Defining rhetorical listening edit

Ratcliffe encouraged language scholars to adopt listening as a novel strategy for deriving meaning and comprehending discourses related to gender and race. The primary objective was to facilitate cross-cultural conversations.[6][23] Ratcliffe defined rhetorical listening as a technique for creative interpretation, originating from a space within language where listeners can assert their influence.[6]: 204  This approach utilizes listening as a tool to gain insight into the perspectives and voices of others, promoting interpretation, reflection, and the creation of fresh significance. To this end, Ratcliffe asserted that rhetorical listening embodies an “stance of openness that a person may choose to assume in relation to any person, text, or culture.”[23] As an outcome of this openness, Ratcliffe claimed that rhetorical listening cultivates conscious willingness in people, thereby fostering effective communication, particularly in cross-cultural settings.[6][23]

Steven Pedersen highlights the negative impact on communication of stereotypes and prejudices, which cause dis-identification. Conversely, rhetorical listening promotes cross-cultural understanding and allows students and teachers to disrupt reciprocal resistance[jargon].[24]

Rhetorical listening requires an attentive consideration of individuals' intentions to seek understanding, which surpasses mere passive listening.[6][23] Stenberg cautioned against interpretative limitations that may arise from such intentions.[20] Within the framework of rhetorical listening, the term "understanding" metaphorically transforms into "standing under"—encompassing a comprehensive view of various perspectives. This vantage point allows for the (re)conceptualization of one's own ideas and ethics.[6][20][23] Instead of merely accumulating others' ideas, people cultivate these ideas, thereby enhancing their language skills and evolving their perspectives, ultimately paving the way for new responses[clarification needed].[20][25]

Practicing rhetorical listening in the classroom edit

Based on Krista Ratcliffe's work on rhetorical listening, Meagan Rodgers developed the intent/effect tactic as one way for students to practice rhetorical listening in the English composition classroom. The application of this tool is meant to disrupt racially discriminatory stereotypes and utterances. Rodgers found in her classroom-based research that even if a person does not perceive themselves to be racist, racism or racial stereotypes are subconsciously perpetuated when a majority/dominant group agrees with[clarification needed] or laughs at racial differences of a minority group member. Rather than confronting students and jeopardizing their willingness to participate in classroom discussions, the intent/effect strategy invites students to (1) consider numerous perspectives of a statement, and (2) understand that well-meant comments (intent) can be perceived as deleterious (effect) by others.[26]

Another strategy for teachers to practice rhetorical listening and improve cultural sensitivity in the classroom is by applying practices from Deaf Studies. This kind of listening pedagogy requires students (1) to be attentive and reduce distracting noises; (2) share their story, including their cultural background, so that classmates can be familiar with their perspective; (3) engage in “critical dialogue” in order to understand others; and (4) pay attention to their classmates’ body language and the messages it sends.[27]

Rhetorical listening in the classroom can also be used to shed more light onto why students are silent. Janice Cools discusses several reasons for silence in the ESL/ELL composition classroom, such as students holding back their wisdom on purpose to avoid being harassed by peers and instructors for giving a wrong answer. The fear and doubt that can result from this type of response might lead to feelings of incompetence and discomfort in an individual and cause them to continue in silence in the classroom. A further reason why students choose silence is because they were taught to be silent, especially at the secondary school level in some cultures, e.g. Puerto Rico. Cools suggests asking students in writing why they are (not) silent in their classes, "how [they] interpret other students' silences [...] and what a professor should infer from [students'] silence."[28] Students answered that silence can be beneficial as it shows their focus on the material, gives them an opportunity to get to know a different perspective while listening to their peers, and allows them to reflect and process questions. Moreover, discussions can be perceived as interruption because classmates do not have expert knowledge. Cools concludes that silence in the classroom should be appreciated and respected.[28]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Listen". Oxford University. Archived from the original on December 7, 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  2. ^ Wrench, Jason (2012). Stand Up, Speak Out: The Practice and Ethics of Public Speaking. Saylor Academy. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  3. ^ Halone, Kelby; Cunconan, Terry; Coakley, Carolyn; Wolvin, Andrew (1998). "Toward the establishment of general dimensions underlying the listening process". International Journal of Listening. 12: 12–28. doi:10.1080/10904018.1998.10499016.
  4. ^ Bass, Jossey (1999). "listen, listening". Credo.
  5. ^ Michalek, Anne M. P.; Ash, Ivan; Schwartz, Kathryn (2018). "The independence of working memory capacity and audiovisual cues when listening in noise". Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 59 (6): 578–585. doi:10.1111/sjop.12480. PMID 30180277. S2CID 52155107.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ratcliffe, Krista (December 1999). "Rhetorical Listening: A Trope for Interpretive Invention and a 'Code of Cross-Cultural Conduct'". College Composition and Communication. 51 (2): 195–224. doi:10.2307/359039. ISSN 0010-096X. JSTOR 359039.
  7. ^ a b c Barthes, Roland (1985). The Responsibility of Forms: Critical Essays on Music, Art, and Representation. New York Hill and Wang.
  8. ^ Purdy, Michael; Borisoff, Deborah, eds. (1997). Listening in Everyday Life: A Personal and Professional Approach. University Press of America. pp. 5–6. ISBN 9780761804611.
  9. ^ a b Schmitt, Norbert, ed. (2010). An Introduction to Applied Linguistics (Second ed.). Routledge. pp. 180–187. doi:10.4324/9780203783733. ISBN 9781444127829.
  10. ^ Hyslop, Nancy B.; Tone, Bruce (1988). "Listening: Are We Teaching It, and If So, How?". ERIC Digest. Bloomington, Ind. Archived from the original on 2021-08-26. Retrieved 2021-08-26.
  11. ^ Yarn, D.H., ed. (2002). "Active Listening". Dictionary of Conflict Resolution.
  12. ^ a b Hoppe, Michael (2018). Active Listening: Improve Your Ability to Listen and Lead. Center for Creative Leadership. ISBN 9781604916607. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  13. ^ a b Rogers, Carl Ransom; Farson, Richard Evans (1957). Active Listening. Industrial Relations Center, University of Chicago.
  14. ^ mirza, Tooba (2020-11-03). "Communication Is the Key to Everything". Medium. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  15. ^ Flowerdew, John; Miller, Lindsay (2005). Second Language Listening: Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0521786478.
  16. ^ Vásquez, Anete; Hansen, Angela L.; Smith, Philip C. (2013). Teaching Language Arts to English Language Learners. Routledge. p. 171. ISBN 978-0415641449.
  17. ^ Flowerdew & Miller 2005, p. 14.
  18. ^ Rost, M. (2001). "Listening". In Carter, R.; Nunan, D. (eds.). The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
  19. ^ Brunfaut, Tineke; Révész, Andrea (2015). "The Role of Task and Listener Characteristics in Second Language Listening". TESOL Quarterly. 49 (1): 141–168. doi:10.1002/tesq.168. ISSN 0039-8322. JSTOR 43893740.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Stenberg, Shari (2011). "Cultivating listening: Teaching from a restored logos". In Glenn, Cheryl; Ratcliffe, Krista (eds.). Silence and listening as rhetorical arts. Southern Illinois University Press. pp. 250–263. ISBN 978-0-8093-3017-1.
  21. ^ Aristotle. Rhetoric.
  22. ^ Bannister, Linda (March 2001). "Rhetorical Listening in the Diverse Classroom: Understanding the Sound of Not Understanding" (PDF). ERIC: 2. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
  23. ^ a b c d e Ratcliffe, Krista (2005). Rhetorical listening: Identification, gender, whiteness. SIU Press.
  24. ^ Pedersen, Steven M. (2013). "Review: Rhetorical Listening by Krista Ratcliffe". KB Journal. 9 (1).
  25. ^ Rivera-Mueller, Jessica (2020-10-18). "Enacting Rhetorical Listening: A Process to Support Students' Engagement with Challenging Course Readings". Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence. 4 (2). doi:10.26077/0845-bae3. ISSN 2644-2132.
  26. ^ Rodgers, Meagan (2012). "The Intent/Effect Tactic: A Practice of Rhetorical Listening". CEA Forum. 41 (1): 60–77.
  27. ^ Bannister, Linda (March 2001). "Rhetorical Listening in the Diverse Classroom: Understanding the Sound of Not Understanding" (PDF). ERIC. 2: 1–12.
  28. ^ a b Cools, Janice (2017). "Hearing the Silences: Engaging in Rhetorical Listening in the ESL/ELL Composition Classroom". CEA Forum. 46 (2): 35–61.

Further reading edit