Teaching listening strategies

Understand oral presentations, select and use appropriate listening strategies to locate information

pressure sensitive adhesive note paper in action.
pressure sensitive adhesive note paper in action. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most students sit through many presentations given by teachers or fellow students during the school year. Most likely they will continue to attend lectures at university as well. How do we teach listening strategies? How do you make sure you remember the important parts of the lecture? How can you use this information during your exams?

Here are some points to remember before, during and after the presentation. The main questions for me is; should we allow the students to take notes on the computer? If the lecture is long, will they be able to focus or will they be tempted to check Facebook, Skype and read some news. Lets try by dividing the class in 2. One part gets to take notes on the computer and one group has to use pen and paper. Lets discuss the result afterwards? What can we learn from this?

Listening strategies


  1. Read up on the content beforehand, most times you can read it in your book
  2. Predicting the content of the lecture, look at the name of the lecture, what do you think will be covered?

While listening:

  1. Language; Take notes in the language in which you will need to use the notes.
  2. Speed. Effective note taking requires that you record information quickly. To do this, good note takers DO NOT WRITE DOWN EVERY WORD or try to take notes in neat sentences; instead, they write only key words and phrases.
  3. Selecting what is important or useful, Listen for signposts which tell you what the lecturer thinks is important, eg. “There are three main points …”, “On the other hand …”, “Interestingly,Develop your own note-taking style
  4. Develop your own method for writing different types of information in different ways.
  5. Organization. Your notes should reflect which of the lecturerís points are main points and which are details
  6. Accuracy. Are your facts correct? Did you write down all the main points and a sufficient number of details? Can you read your notes and understand what you wrote?

After listening,

  1. Recycling, By trying to remember what you have heard, you will increase your chances of remembering it later. Try: talking about it with your classmates;  making a mind-map of the lecture content; – writing a few sentences which summarise the main points.

Source:Goldsmiths university of London and Advanced listening, listening strategy guide.

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