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 3 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

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham