Listening is more than merely hearing words.

Listening is an active process by which students receive, construct meaning from, and respond to spoken and or nonverbal messages (Emmert, 1994). As such, it forms an integral part of the communication process and should not be separated from the other language arts. Listening comprehension complements reading comprehension. Verbally clarifying the spoken message before, during, and after a presentation enhances listening comprehension. Writing, in turn, clarifies and documents the spoken message.
An analysis of the skills involved in listening comprehension and techniques for developing them in students looks first at elements of the general process of interpretation, showing the essential importance of the interpretative functions as contrasted with simple comprehension of sounds and decoding of meaning. The first section looks at research on the factors in the listening process and the language learner's tasks in interpretation. The second section analyzes the problems second language students experience and teachers must attempt to resolve in the instruction of listening comprehension, especially in English as a second language. The factors affecting student processes of interpretation are categorized and discussed in three groups: linguistic, sociopsychological, and communicative. The final section outlines theoretical and practical suggestions on how to overcome the problems with appropriate activities. The techniques are divided into three groups for use before, during, and after listening, and emphasis is placed on exploitation of inexpensive materials for classroom use. A bibliography is appended. (MSE)

Listening is an important part of the communication process. This  chapter developed the following points about effective listening: A great deal of our communication time is devoted to listening. Hearing is a biological process that involves the reception of a message  through sensory channels; it may be affected by all of our senses. Listening is the active processing of the information we receive. Listening involves reception, perception, attention, the assignment of  meaning, and response by the listener to the message that has been  presented. Auditory acuity enhances an individual's ability to listen efficiently. Listeners use the visual system as well as the hearing mechanism.

Attention represents the focus on a specific stimulus selected from all  the stimuli we receive at any given moment. Making a summary of the ideas presented, or paraphrasing, can be a  helpful technique for sharpening concentration. Both the interest level and the difficulty of the message affect our  listening concentration. Studies of compressed speech indicate that we can comprehend at a  much faster rate than people normally speak. Putting a stimulus into some predetermined category enables a listener  to assign meaning to a message. Schema are scripts for processing information. The two hemispheres of the human brain process information  differently. Once we have assigned meaning to a message, we continue the listening  process with an internal or an external response (feedback) to that  message. Memory capacity can be increased by choosing to remember,  visualizing what is to be remembered, associating the information with  something familiar, and practicing with the material. Listening influencers include the speaker, the message, the channel,  noise, internal variables, attitude, memory, and time. The effective listener receives, perceives, attends to, assigns meaning to,  and responds to messages while being influenced by a wide range of  factors that enhance or detract from the process at any given time.

There are five levels at which we listen: the discrimination level, the  comprehension level, the therapeutic level, the critical level, and the  appreciation level. Inciting words can interrupt good listening. Listening to speeches requires an understanding of your own response  to the public communication and your adaptation of that response to  the communication purpose

What is listening and what can it do for you?
Listening is:
taking information from the speakers, other people or ourselves, while remaining nonjudgmental and empathic. acknowledging the speakers in a way that invites the communication to continue. provided thelimited, but encouraging imput to the talker's response carrying the person's idea one step forward.

Effective listeners can reap numerous rewards:
Increased sales Increased customer satisfaction Increased employee satisfaction Increased productivity Expanded informative base Improved social ties Improved family relations Heightened self esteem Increased enjoyment Enriched lives

Ten Factors Influencing the Listening Process
Factor #1 Culture
Communication scholars have come to recognize that culture is the primary determinant of all communication behaviors, including listening, because one's culture essentially serves to define who one is and how one will communicate through one's perceptual filter. People must recognize tht what is considered "effective listening" in one culture may be totally inappropriate in another culture.

Factor #2 Gender
Gender differences in brain development and hemispheric organization can be directly linked to male/ female listening behaviors. Psychologists suggest that females hear more of a message as how it is. Males, on the other hand, tend to restructure messages in terms of their own goals and tend to be less responsive to emotions as a women.

Factor #3 Age
A listener may very well "grow with age" and greater experience and sensitivity so as to achieve effective listening. However, a person's sensory mechanisms, particularly hearing, will deteriorate with age and increase one's difficulty in recieving messages.

Factor #4 Hemispheric Specialization
People will listen differently based on wether they are left or right hemisphere dominated.

Factor #5 Physical and Psychological States
A listener's physical psychological states have a profound influence on the listening. The greater physical and psychological condition that affects listeners today is stress.

Factor #6 Attitudes
A positive listening attitude along with appropriate skills, are a critical ingredient of effective listening. Six of the most essential positive listening skills are interested, responsible, otheroriented, patient, equal, open-minded.

Factor #7 Self Concept
A person who holds a positive listening self concept probably is willing to listen without fear of losing self while feeling insecure with the ultimate choice of accepting or rejecting a message.

Factor #8 Reciever Apprehension
The apprehension that a listener may experience can stem from any of a number of sources. People often worry about the outcome of communication, and approach listening with a high level of anxiety.

Factor #9 Time
The amount of time that one has available to listen has a profound effect on the person as well. If the

listener is rushed or unable to devote much time to the process, then the listening may well be shortcircuited.

Factor #10 Listening Preferences
Individuals with a people oriented listening style focus on the emotional and relational aspects of communication. Content-oriented listeners deal with complex information. Actionoriented listeners prefer clear, efficient information, while time-oriented listeners have a preference for short limited messages.

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