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Lesson #5 - Listening, Part 1
Almost everything you do or think can influence your success in school. But, of all that you can do in class, listening well is the most important.Q: Why is listening so important?
First, listening is how you find out what teachers expect. Most teachers will explain what they want you to learn, how to answer tests, and how to write papers. They usually do this at the beginning of a grading period and when assignments are made.
But, teachers also tell you what they expect in other ways. They emphasize important points by changing the volume of their voice, by moving more rapidly, and by repeating points. If you listen well, you can often find clues to what will be on a test. So, listening is a good way to find out what teachers expect.
Second, listening is one of the two main ways to get information you must learn. Most teachers use class time to present important ideas. If you listen carefully, you can learn more and save time.
In this lesson, you will learn how to be a good listener by listening systematically.
In the next lesson, you will learn about listening problems and how to avoid them as well
as ways to increase your listening power.
Listen systematically: Prepare to listen, Act to listen, and Test your listening.
There are two ways to Prepare yourself to listen.
First, you can prepare at home. Do your homework, read ahead in the text, make up questions, and think about what you believe your teachers will say. These actions will help you use your knowledge to learn more as you listen.
Second, you can prepare to listen in class. These are actions you should do right
before class begins. You will want to get to your classroom at least 2 or 3 minutes early.
Four Actions you can take will help you focus your attention and learn more as
You have to listen carefully and look for clues from three sources. First from the teacher, you can look for increased movement such as pointing a finger, waving arms, and changes in voice tone and volume.
Second, listen for a "story line" which links together the ideas being presented. This "general idea" or "theme" can help you identify other main points. Often, teachers will tell you what you will learn at the beginning of a lesson. If you are not sure, then ask, "What will we learn today?"
Third, listen for main idea words and phrases. Words like "because," "therefore," "in addition," and "if" can tell you that something important is about to be said. You will find a list of some main idea indicator words and their meaning on Chart 5.1.
Q: Should you test your listening, too?
Yes, Testing is the last part of Systematic Study, the STUDY SMART system.
To test yourself, ask questions such as:
Then, after class, see if you can recall and organize the main points. You can do this
by making an outline of the ideas. You can also write a summary (about one page long) to
identify main points. If you are not sure you have gotten the correct ideas, ask your
teacher to read your summary.
Here are some activities you can do to improve your listening.
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