The Concept Of Active Listening English Language Essay

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Introduce your students to the concept of Active Listening. Explain to students: Actively listening to other people sounds easy, doesn't it? In reality, it is one of the most difficult aspects of effective communication. Active listening takes commitment and knowledge of barriers that are keeping you from listening effectively to others. The following exercises are designed to help you begin thinking about the potential blocks to active listening and take steps in listening effectiveness.

Divide the class into groups, assigning each group one of the Blocks to Active Listening on the activity sheet. Instruct the group to complete their assigned Blocks to Active Listening Activity Sheet and then discuss as a class. (Alternatively, the instructor could discuss the questions in a group situation orally.)

Divide the class into groups, assigning each group one of the skills on the Mastery of Active Listening Skills Activity Sheet. Instruct the group to complete their assigned Mastery of Active Listening Skills Activity Sheet and then discuss as a class. (Alternatively, the instructor could divide the group into pairs and ask the students to take turns practicing each skill on the activity sheet. Afterward, ask each pair to demonstrate one example from each skill. )

Activity Sheet 1

BLOCKS TO ACTIVE LISTENING

I. DAY DREAMING

Daydreaming is allowing your attention to wander to other events or people. It is a time when you stop listening and drift away into your own fantasies.

In what situations do you find yourself daydreaming?

When you find yourself daydreaming, with whom are you talking?

When you find yourself daydreaming, what is the conversation about?

When you are daydreaming, how do you feel about the other person?

II. REHEARSING

Rehearsing is when you are busy thinking about what you are going to say next, so that you never completely hear what the other person is telling you.

In what situations do you find yourself rehearsing?

When you find yourself rehearsing, with whom are you talking?

When you find yourself rehearsing, what is the conversation about?

When you are rehearsing, how do you feel about the other person?

III. FILTERING

Filtering is when you listen to certain parts of the conversation, but not all.

In what situations do you find yourself filtering conversations?

When you find yourself filtering conversations, with whom are you talking?

When you find yourself filtering conversations, what is the conversation about?

When you are filtering conversations, how do you feel about the other person?

IV. JUDGING

Judging is when you have stopped listening to the other person because you have already judged, placed labels, made assumptions about, or stereotyped the other person.

In what situations do you find yourself judging?

When you find yourself judging, with whom are you talking?

When you find yourself judging, what is the conversation about?

When you are judging, how do you feel about the other person?

V. DISTRACTIONS

Distraction occurs when your attention is divided by something internal to you (headaches, worry, hunger) or external to you (traffic, whispering, others talking).

In what situations do you find yourself distracted?

When you find yourself getting distracted, with whom are you talking?

When you find yourself getting distracted, what is the conversation about?

When you are distracted, how do you feel about the other person?

Activity Sheet 2

MASTERY OF ACTIVE LISTENING SKILLS

Listening is a critical aspect of effective communication. The following exercises will help you become a better listener. Try practicing all of the active listening skills that follow, then select and use the one with which you feel most comfortable.

PARAPHRASING

In paraphrasing, you restate, in your own words, what you think the other person just said. You can use such phrases as "In other words…" or "What I am hearing you say is…." In the following spaces, try to paraphrase what the speaker is saying.

What the speaker says

How you could paraphrase

"I think I am going to leave him."

"What I hear you saying is that you are going to ask for a divorce."

"My partner (mother, boyfriend) never listens to me"

"I desperately need a vacation"

"I hate my job (school)"

"I can't decide if I should go to the party"

REFLECTION OF FEELINGS

In reflection of feelings, you restate what the person has said to you much like paraphrasing. However, in this skill you restate what you think the speaker is feeling.

In the following spaces, try to reflect the feelings of the speaker.

What the speaker says

How you could reflect feelings

"I think I am going to leave him."

"You sound very frustrated!."

"My partner (mother, boyfriend) never listens to me"

"I desperately need a vacation"

"I hate my job (school)"

"I can't decide if I should go to the party"

CLARIFICATION

In clarification, you tell the other person what you thought you heard, learn whether you were right or wrong, and then ask questions to clarify.

In the following spaces, try to clarify what the speaker is saying.

What the speaker says

How you could clarify what was said

"I think I am going to leave him."

"You don't think it's worth staying to try and work things out. Is that accurate?"

"My partner (mother, boyfriend) never listens to me"

"I desperately need a vacation"

"I hate my job (school)"

"I can't decide if I should go to the party"

BODY LANGUAGE

Showing active listening through your body language conveys the message that you are interested and listening, encouraging the speaker to tell you more. Some suggestions for effective body language include the following:

Maintain eye contact

Move closer to the person, but do not cross over any personal boundaries

Nod from time-to-time

Say things like "yes" or "uh huh"

Keep your posture open to the person by keeping your arms unfolded and uncrossed

Keep distractions to a minimum

When you are communicating with other people, which of the above body language cues do you maintain?

When you are communicating with other people, which of the above body language cues do you need to do more often?

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