Purposes for Listening

Listening is the ability to accurately receive messages in the communication process.  Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.
Listening is so important that many top employers give regular listening skills training for their employees.  This is not surprising when you consider that good listening skills can lead to: better customer satisfaction, greater productivity with fewer mistakes, increased sharing of information that in turn can lead to more creative and innovative work. See our pages: Employability Skills and Customer Service Skills.
Good listening skills also have benefits in our personal lives, including: a greater number of friends and social networks, improved self-esteem and confidence, higher grades in academic work and increased health and wellbeing.  Studies have shown that, whereas speaking raises blood pressure, listening brings it down.

Purposes for Listening

Okay, so you go to an interview of your favorite author and you hear reporters asking questions. You should listen to the questions and then then responses of the author. This knowledge may help you in the future for a report or presentation about the author.
Following Directions 
You can learn a lot from just following directions. Pretend for a moment that you are a student at an art school. If you listen and follow directions closely, you can find out how to make a work of art worthy of a frame! The same is true for almost anything in life- follow directions and you will succeed.
Pursuing a Personal Interest
If you listen closely then you may learn a great skill or just a bit of useless knowlage that's fun to know that you have. Or maybe soon you may heard or read something of great personal intrest and become an expert in that subject, maybe to get famous! Remember it was because you listened carefully to a book reading or presentation!

Discriminative Listening

People use discriminative listening to distinguish sounds and develop sensitivity to
nonverbal communication. Teaching discriminative listening involves one sort of activity in the primary grades and a different activity for older students. Children use discriminative listening as they develop phonemic awareness, the ability to blend and segment the sounds in spoken words, identify rhyming words, and spell words Children also learn to “listen” to the nonverbal messages that people communicate.

For example, young children quickly recognize the unspoken message when a parent’s expression changes from a smile to a frown or when a teacher expresses puzzlement. Older students learn the meanings of more sophisticated forms of body language, such as people folding their arms over their chest to signify stubbornness or an invasion of their space. They also recognize how teachers emphasize that something they are teaching is important, such as by writing it on the chalkboard, speaking more loudly, or repeating information.

Aesthetic Listening
People listen aesthetically when they’re listening for enjoyment to stories being read aloud, as Mr. Hernandez’s students did in the Classroom Close-Up. The focus of this type of listening is on the lived-through experience and the connections that listeners make to the literature. 
As students listen to the teacher read aloud well-crafted stories such as  Charlotte’s Web (White, 1980) and  Thunder Cake (Polacco, 1990), they engage with the text and step into 
the secondary world of the story. In Charlotte’s Web, they feel the unlikely friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur, and in Thunder Cake, they understand the granddaughter’s fear of
thunderstorms and the urgency with which she and her grandmother collect the ingredients and prepare the thunder cake.The outcome of aesthetic listening is an emotional response. In addition to listening to teachers read stories aloud, children also listen aesthetically when they
◆ listen to storytellers tell stories
◆ listen to poets recite poems
◆ view puppet shows and plays
◆ listen to singers sing songs
◆ participate in choral reading and readers theatre
◆ view films and videotaped versions of stories.

Efferent Listening

People listen efferently to understand a message and remember important
information. This type of listening is required in many instructional activities, particularly in thematic units. Students determine the speaker’s purpose, identify the big ideas, and then organize the information in order to remember it. 
Children often use efferent listening as they listen  to teachers read books aloud or view videos as part of
social studies and science thematic units. For instance,children learn how energy from the sun turns into energy for electricity as they listen to the teacher read My Light (Bang, 2004), learn about a historical mystery as
they listen to the teacher read  The Lost Colony of Roanoke (Fritz, 2004), and find out how dolphins
communicate in  Dolphin Talk: Whistles, Clicks, and Clapping Jaws (Pfeffer, 2003). Even though these
books provide information, students may use a combination of aesthetic and efferent listening. Children often imagine that they’re astronauts as they listen to the teacher read aloud Exploring Our Solar System (Ride &
O’Shaughnessy, 2003), living in the secondary world of the book as they travel through space.

Critical Listening
People listen critically to evaluate a message. Critical listening is an extension of efferent listening: As in efferent listening, listeners seek to understand a message, but they also filter the message to detect propaganda and emotional appeals. Students use critical listening to listen to debates, commercials, political speeches, and other arguments.
Teachers can help students think more critically as they read aloud and discuss books.

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