Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Date of this Version



Essays on Teaching Excellence: Toward the Best in the Academy (1998-1999) 10(6)

A publication of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education


Copyright 1999, Elisa Carbone. Used by permission


Listening to our students creates a supportive environment in which students feel respected. If students feel respected and valued, they will be less afraid to ask questions, express opinions, and share insights; and they will be more likely to listen to each other during discussions. This is an environment conducive to the enhancement of learning.

It is well worth taking the time to teach students how to improve their listening habits. Let them know about the differential between thought speed and speech speed. Encourage them to do mental summaries of your lecture while you re speaking. Have them act out the storytelling demonstration described above with good and bad attending behavior. Show them how good attending behavior will improve their listening comprehension. Through exercises that teach listening skills and through setting a positive example by practicing good listening ourselves, we can increase listening effectiveness in our classrooms and thereby increase learning.