Posted by Emmanuel Mgina on 12:23 with No comments
           Listening is the active and dynamic process of attending, perceiving, interpreting, remembering and responding to the expressed verbal and non-verbal needs, concerns, and information offered by other human beings.
          This definition is more specific, emphasizing the need for attention, perceiving and interpreting and remembering. In addition it focuses our attention on the all important needs and concerns of real people .English language learners often say” Listening is easier than speaking” and they may be right to think that because listening is a receptive skill, not a production one. Listening involves factors that can affect comprehension, sometimes in circumstances that they cannot control is when they listen to the radio, and they cannot tell the speaker to slow down, to repeat or to explain things for them. So it depends on their language proficiency to understand what he or she talking about.
             There are many factors which affect listening; some of them are hot words, Environmental factor, rehearsing a response, person bias, daydreaming, a short attention  use of filtering, clustering, redundancy, reduction, variables, speed, prosodic elements and lack of interaction. I will explain those factors as follows;-
        First of all the presence of hot words can affect listening due to, all human being have certain words that we react to, sometimes when a speaker uses a hot word in his or her message we will concentrate more on the meaning of the word or its implication for us. Consequently we tend to lose sight of what is being said by the speaker.
      Secondly, listening can be affected by environmental factor such as noise, temperature and uncomfortable seating can cause us to focus our attention on other factors besides what the speaker is saying. We must try to control environmental factors whenever possible. We must try to adjust the thermostat and finding another seat or moving to a quite place to continue the conversation. It is hard to focus attention when we are constantly distracted by outside forces.
       Thirdly,  rehearsing a response also can be a factor that affect listening, you know many times we catch the drift of what the speaker is saying and we begin to rehearse a response, there by missing parts of the message. Other times we may be anticipating our turn to speak and will spend time mentally or physically reviewing notes and will miss what the speaker has said.
         Not only that but also person bias can affect listening. Bias can take on many forms, person prejudice can affect how well we listen and how we perceive what the speaker is saying. Anger can also cause distortion of the message. Be willing to listen to new ideas, make eye contact with the speaker use non-verbal communication such as nodding your head or smiling to show what you are interested. Even if you do not agree with the speaker’s message showing acceptance will left the speaker know that you have received their message.
         In addition to that short attention also can affect listening, as we receive a message we must attend to it or we will lose it .Some people have trouble remembering points to discuss when the speaker is talking. Try taking notes as the speaker talks or use of cue to help your remember what you were going to say. If you find your attention wandering, concentrate on what the speaker is saying and rehearse how you will answer or what you are going to say to keep your mind on the task at hand .Ask grist’s to clarify and to become involved in the conversation. Concentration helps you to receive correct information and indicates that you are interested in what the speaker is saying.
           Daydreaming is also affect listening in one or another way. We are capable of receiving and processing information more rapidly than a speaker can deliver it. This causes us to have spare time to think or daydream and if we don’t concentrate on the message being delivered, we will find ourselves drifting or daydream.

          Also filtering can affect listening, you know many times we will be asked to attend a seminar where we exhibit little or no interest in the topic. As listeners, we tend to listen to get an overview of what is going to be presented and then simply tune out the rest of the message.

            Not only that but also Clustering can affect listening. Clustering refers to people's predisposition for breaking down speech into smaller groups of words. English language learners need to learn how to pick up manageable clusters of words and not try to take in several sentences or to understand every single word in an utterance.
           Redundancy is another element that affects listening. Rephrasing, repetitions, elaborations and insertion of repetitive words like "you know" or "right?" can distract the listener from the content of the message. Learners need to acknowledge that these repetitions actually work to their advantage, as they give them more time to process the real information.
          Another factor which affects listening is Reduction; this is natural to native speakers, that's why learners of English may find it difficult to "catch" the sense of the words even during a normal speech process. Assimilation and elision, elliptical answers for example;"Where are you going?" "Home." for "I'm going home." or contractions for example; "I'll" for "I will" are  hard to understand  the idioms and colloquial elements that native English speakers normally use  some examples may be the very frequent forms for example; 'wanna," "gonna'" or "y'all.
          Variables also can affect listening, this point touch all people except for lectures or speeches that are planned forms of speaking discourse, natural spoken language has several elements that change the message unintentionally. Learners should be able, with practice, to ignore them and to focus on the real content. Hesitations, pauses, false starts and self-corrections are variables that native speakers are used to hearing and can separate from the message.
           Rate of delivery of the message (speed) is another element that affects a proper listening . While a native speaker believes he is speaking at a normal speed, language learners think they speak too fast, especially because they need more time to "weed out" variables while paying attention to the message as it flows.
       Stress, rhythm and intonation are prosodic elements that can affect listening. The way words are stressed differ from other languages and the rhythm in English might not resemble the learner's first language, so he will find it difficult to master. Intonation may also differ; learners should become familiar with discriminating between the rising pitch ("Ready?") and the falling pitch ("Yes.").
         Lack of interaction is another negative element that affects listening comprehension. Even if, as a principle, listening does not require speaking, interaction can help learners practice negotiation, taking turns, starting, maintaining and ending a conversation.

       Listening is an important part of effective communication. We need to concentrate on encouraging none only student, but ourselves, to exhibit good listening behaviors and strategies. Listening is a process that involves actively hearing what another person is communicating and attending to that communication. Listening is how we receive the verbal portion of a person’s message. By listening, we can show concern and interest in understanding both the person and the situation.
      Listening and comprehension can definitely benefit from some basic training in the skills used. There are four basic steps to help improve comprehension of the information being presented. First, determine your reason for listening to the information. Being able to anticipate what information will be presented can help improve comprehension. Second, be selective. Focusing on the information important to your purpose and ignoring irrelevant information will maximize comprehension. Third, be flexible in the use of top-down and bottom-up skills; being able to switch from one skill set to the other as necessary will improve comprehension. Fourth, if you are aware of a failure to comprehend some of the information, review it using a different ski

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