Today we started off with a review of the five senses and words related to each of them . We focused on hearing and listening in today’s noisy and crazy world. Each one of us has a desire to be heard and sometimes its hard to concentrate and focus, and listen.
A recent art installation called “Hello World!” shows thousands of video diaries found on the internet. It encourages viewers to listen to the speakers or just listen to the sounds. Take a look at “Hello World!” here
We discussed the similarities and differences between listening and hearing. While hearing is the physical movement of sound waves that are transmitted to the ear and into the brain, listening goes beyond hearing and it is paying attention to the words that are being spoken – listening is a skill.
As we learn new languages we often listen for things like tone, intonation, emotion, and key words or clues to improve our listening. We all agreed that listening to the radio or a phone conversation can be difficult and challenging. Here are 5 tips to help improve your listening:
- Listen for the main idea
- Listen for details and specific information
- Predict or try to guess key information before listening – like from the title of a recording
- Identify emotion – listen to the tone, inflection, and mood of the speakers
- Identify who the people are in the recording and what is their relationship
To test out our listening skills we listening to this recent recording from NPR –“Why Seabirds Love To Gobble Plastic Floating In The Ocean” , click here to listen. Most of us understood the main points of the story and felt comfortable discussing some of the details and other information reported.
So, listening is an important part of communication but, some people think we are not doing a very good job at listening. We brainstormed some ideas to help improve our listening skills, and then watched this video by Julian Treasure called “5 Ways To Listen Better” .
After watching we talked about some key ideas that Julian Treasure presented – “we are losing our listening” ; “world is noisy, and we are impatient” ; “the art of conversation is being replaced by tweets, texts, etc.” ; “we are becoming desensitized” ; and “this is becoming a problem because listening leads to understanding”. Julian Treasure concludes with 5 simple tools to improve listening:
- silence – 3 minutes a day to reset your ears
- mixer – in a noisy space try to listen to a few channels, it will improve the quality of listening
- savoring – enjoy mundane (which are the every day, usual, boring) sounds, like birds chirping, like the sounds of the brakes on the subway, etc. (“hidden choir”)
- listening positions – active/passive ; reductive/expansive ; critical/empathetic
- RASA – Receive; Appreciate; Summarize ; Ask
Words of the day
nibble (verb) : to eat slowly or with small bites Before Thanksgiving dinner, we nibbled on cheese and crackers.
elbow room (noun) : room or space to move or work freely When we are preparing Thanksgiving dinner there is very little elbow room in the kitchen!
heartily (adverb) : in an enthusiastic and energetic way We all had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, we ate heartily ,but, unfortunately, there were not many leftovers!
Remember to relax and practice your listening skills!