Listening in the Language Arts

By Ediger, Marlow | Reading Improvement, Summer 2015 | Go to article overview

Listening in the Language Arts


Ediger, Marlow, Reading Improvement


Abstract

The process of acquiring language is often depicted as a tiered process of oral development: listening and speaking; and, literacy development: reading, and writing. As infants we first learn language by listening, then speaking. That is, regardless of culture, or dialect we are first immersed in language in this oral context. It is only after one acquires facility with spoken oral language does one move to the next tier of language - literacy. Simply put, one's spoken vocabulary, for example, cannot exceed one's listening vocabulary. Similarly, one's writing vocabulary cannot exceed one's reading vocabulary. This article explores the role of listening in the language arts and provides insight into critical listening development.

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Listening is a very salient facet of learning. We learn much from others through listening. In school and in society, individuals interact verbally with others; thus pupils need much experience in developing meticulous listening skills in the language arts.

Listening has often been minimized and needs adequate emphasis as an objective of instruction, which cuts across all academic and curriculum areas. Thus, all teachers must stress the importance of listening skills in the school setting. Too many times, knowledge and skills are repeated in school due to inadequacy in listening skills (Ediger, 2011).

Emphasizing Listening in Teaching and Learning Situations

How might listening be stressed in ensuing learning experiences?

Inservice education must be in evidence which targets listening within subject matter taught. Strong leadership is needed to develop a series of meetings devoted to inservice education to promote listening. From these meetings, definite techniques and methods of instruction must cater to trying out ideas presented within inservice programs. Meaning must be attached to each idea so that it is usable in classroom settings. Feedback to the inservice group might tend to be perceived as having possibilities with queries raised and modifications made. Thus, listening as integrated in to the curriculum has value to many teachers and support personnel.

Workshops which emphasize the interest factor in teaching which holds and maintains pupil attention is paramount. In supervising university student teachers in the public schools, the writer noticed, what he deemed to be carefully planned interesting activities, which seemingly did not capture the attention of selected pupils. The teacher must try to obtain learner interests at all times. Learning activities may need changing, as the need arises, to meet the criterion of interest.

Second, pupils need to perceive relevancy in subject matter being listened to. There is much content expressed in school and in society which provide opportunities for listening; however, learners must perceive relevancy and involving practicality. This presents difficulties to implement; however, pupils desire to learn what will be of assistance in life's endeavors. Problems exist and these need identification. They should be problems which pupils see as being important. In finding solutions, pupils need to think of tentative hypotheses; these may be listed for all to see and might well become a brain storming experience. Careful listening is inherent in attaining unexpressed hypothesis at this point. Needed research from a variety of sources, including the internet, might provide a selected solution. Debate and indepth discussions are necessary. Pupils need to listen carefully when testing the hypotheses from the evaluated information acquired. This is necessary in order to rationally and objectively modify, accept, or refute the hypothesis.

Third, there is not a more salient reason for not listening than not understanding the facts, concepts, and generalizations being expressed. Teachers and peers need to make certain that subject matter expressed possesses clarity and understanding. …

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