Hanging on your every word

September 18, 2014

Getting students to listen is the perennial problem of teaching, matched by the problem of getting them to read (“Your attention please: we must learn to listen”, Features, 11 September).

Today there are chronic disincentives to listen and read with full attention, including the defensive habits formed by years of exposure to a massive daily deluge of rhetoric via the internet and media, and a weary sense emanating from the cognoscenti that the cupboard of genuinely new ideas is all but bare. University students are supposed to acquire critical skills and life-changing worldviews, but although critical skills are in the ascendant, all the main, once “life-changing” perspectives have long since been rubbished to near extinction. What seems to be needed is a felicitous informal procedure for checking that students have actually listened to the lectures and read the texts on which a course is based. An envelope containing a different question for each student randomly shuffled at the end of the lecture might be the way to do it: with the requirement that each student must speak about his/her question in a follow-up session.

Chris Ormell
Editor, Prospero

 

Last year I offered an afternoon course in listening skills to members of my department in response to requests. I found a listening skills facilitator by contacting the local Quaker meeting as Quakers have three centuries of “listening skills” to draw on. I would recommend this source of support to anyone else wishing to strengthen their listening skills.

Farah Mendlesohn
Head of English, communication, film and media
Anglia Ruskin University

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

International Student Support Assistant YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Senior Lecturer: Architecture (Cultural Content) NORWICH UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS
Head of Department of Physics ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY
Research Assistant LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE LSE

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest