Classroom listening skills

"Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly"

-- Plutarch (46 AD - 120 AD)

>From a course evaluation form filled out by a student in one of my classes: "He just rambles on and on about nothing usually. He has good ideas if he would just stick to them."

Are you an effective listener?

Top ten ways to listen to boring lectures

Dr. Ralph Nichols says at the end of a 10-minute lecture most college freshmen will have retained only half of it. Then, 48 hours later they will have forgotten half of what they did remember.

Want to do better than that? Then, use effective listening techniques. Here are the "Top ten ways to listen to a lecture."

  1. Choose to find the subject useful.
  2. Concentrate on the words and message, not on the professor's looks, clothes or delivery.
  3. When you hear something you're not sure you agree with, react slowly and thoughtfully.
  4. Identify the "big ideas," those fundamental concepts to which everything else in the lecture is related.
  5. Adjust your note taking system to the lecturer's pattern.
  6. Focus on being attentive.
  7. Aggressively tackle difficult material.
  8. Don't get derailed by emotionally charged "buzz" words that trigger negative responses.
  9. Get to know the professor personally.
  10. Understand and use the differential between the speed of speaking and the speed of thinking. We think at about 400 words per minute. That's four times faster than most speakers can talk.

Sparked by material in "The Professor in the Classroom," © by Leadership Lane

After learning to be a good listener, what's next?

Next Are there other steps you can take to improving your grades? Yes, there are. [ read more ]

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