Classroom Listening as key to a Bright Future
A lot of people confuse listening with hearing. The truth is, the two are very distinct. Most of us can hear, but not all of us are effective when it comes to listening. Listening is a skill that has to be developed over time. Below, we will review some of the questions that every student should ask himself or herself at some point when attending a class. This helps them become better listeners – and more successful in life outside the classroom.
What does the lecture consist of?
If you are in college and attend a lot of lectures, then you already know how important listening is to getting by. But have you ever really asked yourself what the lectures really consist of? On a structural level, most lectures consists of five different sections:
2. Thesis Statement
The introduction is usually opening statements. Whatever topic is going to be discussed in class that day will be introduced at this point. It is important to take note of what is said in the introduction, because it will effect everything else that the professor says throughout the class period.
The thesis statement is the topic that is going to be covered in the course of the lecture – an argument that the professor wishes to put forward regarding the nature of the topic.
Then there is the body of the lecture itself. This is the raw meat – all the knowledge you will want to absorb. You will most likely be tested at some point at a later date, or at the very least be expected to write a term paper on the subject, so it is of vital importance that you listen well and take notes throughout the course of the lecture.
The summary is an excellent opportunity for you to gouge all the major points of the lecture – and to fill in any gaps that you might have missed.
The irrelevancies are less important. It consists of off the topic material or filter material. You will most likely not need to retain this information at a later date – but it is important to be able to differentiate the irrelevancies from the rest of the lecture. Only a skilled listener may do this in an effective manner.
You might also wish to identify the structure of the body of the lecture. Normally there will be some sort of hidden structure – whether it is chronological or otherwise. Identifying the structure will better help you understand it. And understanding is the key to knowledge – it helps us retrieve it at a later date.
What is the professor trying to tell you?
There is a point to every lesson. As a student, this is what you are looking for each time you go to class. This is the reason why you want to listen at each and every lecture – otherwise there is really no point in going. What parts of the content are you most interested in? These are the parts you will want to focus on during the course of the lecture.
How can you better focus in a classroom?
If you feel you are having trouble focusing in a particular class, try to sit as close to the front as you are able to. This forces you to engage with the words the professor is speaking, and gives you better access to any visual aides – such as the chalkboard or slide presentations – that are given throughout the class.
You should also bring a notebook and take detailed, extensive notes throughout the class period.
Of course everyone should show up on time to a lecture. There is nothing more distracting than having to watch a student enter the classroom late. But it is even better to show up early to a lecture. This way, you have plenty of time to get settled and comfortable in your seat. You can also use the extra time to review your notes from the last lecture, so that you are focused when the professor arrives.
How can you increase your attention span?
To be honest, we are a short attention span generation. But that does not mean we have to have short attention spans for the rest of our life. The best way of learning to overcome a short attention span is figuring out exactly how long it takes for our minds to wander elsewhere.
Write down the thought that distracts you when it comes to mind. For the next listening span, set a goal that lasts a few minutes longer. When your mind starts to wander, write down that thought and set a time limit for when you will deal with it.
Through timing, patience, and self awareness, everyone can overcome the short attention span obstacle. You just have to have the will and desire to do so!