Wearing Different Listening Hats: A Classroom Activity for Demonstrating the Effect of Listening Attitudes

Wearing Different Listening Hats: A Classroom Activity for Demonstrating the Effect of Listening Attitudes

Mridula Mascarenhas (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4482-3.ch005
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This chapter reports two case studies done in a teacher training university (SRTTU) in Iran to find the effects of two technology-based learning environments on EFL pre-service teachers’ learning and technology acceptance. In the first case, a learning management system (LMS) was used to support EFL learners’ writing ability in a writing course. In the second case, the effect of an educational blog on increasing students’ phonological awareness was probed into. Both studies adopted a pretest-posttest control and experimental group design. The results revealed that, while controlling for students’ entry-level ability, the experimental group out-performed the control group in their final assessment. Perceptions of students who experienced technology-based environments were assessed by a questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. It was found that most students enjoyed using both technologies for learning, accepted them as valuable educational sources, and preferred to extend using them into other university courses.
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Activity Steps

  • Step 1: Students are informed that they will be watching the video recording of a short political speech. Each student selects one slip of paper from a bowl. Each slip of paper describes a kind of listening “hat” that the student will wear as s/he listens to the speech. The directions (see Appendix) on the slips of paper indicate specific attitudes that the student will assume while listening, as well as specific goals for the listening process. Ensure that students sitting adjacent to each other receive different listening directions and that the listening directions are more or less evenly distributed throughout the classroom.

  • Step 2: Students watch a 6 minute video clip of a local politician’s speech. The politician Phil Davison was running for the position of County Treasurer at the time. The speech noticeably violates several conventions of non-verbal speech delivery, making it difficult to follow the speaker’s content. Clip available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhV5RgcNJjE&feature=related

  • Step 3: After the clip has been watched, students are instructed to write down three-four of the most important things they remember from Davison’s speech in response to the listening prompts given to them on their slips of paper. It is important not to tell the students about this memory requirement before they watch the clip, so as to allow for maximum differential effect of the listening instructions.

  • Step 4: Students then assemble into pairs or groups of three and compare their lists of information remembered from the speech.

  • Step 5: Students reconvene as a whole class and the instructor leads discussion about the similarities and differences in the students’ memory lists as well as their experiences during the listening activity.


Discussion Questions

  • 1.

    How did the listening instructions influence the students’ listening process? Was it easy or difficult to follow the listening instructions? Why?

  • 2.

    How did the listening instructions impact what students remembered from the speech? Were students’ memory lists similar or different when compared in the small group discussions?

  • 3.

    Overall, what was challenging about listening to Phil Davison?

  • 4.

    Which students were the most empathic listeners? How did the instructions help those listeners be empathic? What challenges did listeners have to overcome in order to be empathic while listening to Davison?

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