Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

PinkMonkey Electric Desk

ssban.gif (2222 bytes)

Back to Table of Contents

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.

Q: How should you listen?

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.

  1. Review your notes from the previous class or classes. Look for main points and try to relate them to the lesson for the day.
  2. Sit and relax for a moment and think about what you think your teacher will say. What will the main points be?
  3. Be sure you have everything you need to listen well. This includes pen, paper, books, etc. Also, plan to listen like your teacher talks. You will have to listen "fast," for example, if a teacher talks quickly.
  4. Sit in the front middle of the room; you will learn more.
Q: What can you do to listen better once class begins?

Four Actions you can take will help you focus your attention and learn more as you listen:

  1. Listen for main points:  Most teachers have one or two important points they want everyone to learn. You should listen for these main points.
  2. Listen willingly:  It is very hard to learn if you resent being in class or dislike the teacher. Instead, identify what you can learn and listen for it. Focus your attention on the class or the topic. Forget about distractions.
  3. Listen for clues to test questions:  Most teachers ask questions about important ideas, facts, people, or events. These are also the things they talk about in class.

    Try to relate what your teachers say in class to their questions on tests. Listen for things like changes in voice tone, repeated statements, changes in volume, and extra movement. These are often clues to important points.

  4. Summarize frequently:  From time to time repeat to yourself the main points. For example, you could repeat the steps to solve a problem or the reasons for an incident as these are presented. You should do this about every 10 minutes, but only during times when the teacher pauses or repeats. These summaries should only take 15 to 30 seconds.
Q: How can you identify main points?

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:

  • What is the main point?
  • What have I learned so far?
  • How does this lesson relate to the lesson yesterday?

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.

Q: How can you get started?

Here are some activities you can do to improve your listening.

  1. Count the main idea indicator words used by your teachers.
  2. Compare the main points you heard with the main points another student heard.
  3. Listen to a newscast on television and identify main idea indicator words.
  4. Read the main idea indicator words, learn them, and state what they mean from memory.

Lesson #6
Lesson #4

ECC [] ©Copyright 1991, Thomas M. Sherman.Further distribution without the written consent of, Inc. is prohibited.


All Contents Copyright ©
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.
Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page

In Association with