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How to Listen Better

"The classroom is the place to learn, and the classroom is the place to listen."

William H. Armstrong

Listening is one of the most important skills you can develop to do better in school.

  • It is the second most difficult skill. Reading is the most difficult.
  • Form a good habit - good listening in class!
  • Concentrate on what is going on in class - do not daydream.
  • You cannot listen if you are talking!

Before class - think about what the class is going to be about

  • What were the main points covered in the last class?
  • Review what your assignment was for the class.

During class - relate what you have already learned to what is being taught Did your homework have anything to do with the subject being taught during this class?

  • Did your reading have anything to do with the subject?
  • Does your general knowledge provide any information about the subject being taught?
  • What comes to mind during the instruction?
  • Concentrate on the subject being taught.
  • Take notes on the main points.

After class, review your notes and think about what was covered in class. Some people like to rewrite their notes.

  • Some people like to underline and highlight important ideas and vocabulary.
  • If you have a choice, try to sit near the front of the class -- you can usually listen better if you are in the front.

Learning to listen - more details

  • Good listening means you are paying attention.
  • Try to hear what is said, not what you want to hear.
  • Think "around" the topic and "between the lines."
  • Relate it to what you already know.
  • What is the main point?
  • What is likely to be on the test?
  • What is the teacher going to say next?
  • Listen carefully to what the teacher says about an assignment and write it down in your assignment notebook right away.

Listen for these essential phrases from the teacher:

  • "This is important"
  • "It is essential that you know this"
  • "You will need to know this for the test"

Do not confuse listening with hearing.

  • You can hear something but not be listening: "In one ear and out the other."
  • To listen you must be thinking. Listening is an active, not passive activity.
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