As a training professional for more than 25 years, I’ve learned that that different students require different types of listening from me. When you listen well, you can get information, improve relationships, gain appreciation, discriminate and evaluate. All types of listening involve receiving information, paying attention and understanding.
Additionally, in situations where your role is to understand a student’s concerns, informative listening, allows you to get the facts. This type of listening allows your student to learn about new policies and procedures. Informative listening requires you to concentrate on the message and its source. As an instructor, I always remember to use clear and accurate vocabulary, pay attention and remember details from previous encounters with this student.
If you need to repair or improve a relationship, therapeutic listening allows troubled students to talk through a problem. You can also use this strategy to listen to friends and family too.This type of listening enables you to hone in on attending to the student, supporting her and empathizing. This includes the use of eye contact, avoiding interrupting or changing the subject and giving non-judgmental advice. Sometimes the right thing to do is not respond at all and let the student talk.
Appreciative listening typically occurs purely for enjoyment. For example, this type of listening tends to depend on how much the student likes or dislikes your topic. Presentation, perception and previous experience influence how appreciative the student becomes. It really depends on the listener’s personality and expectations.
Critical listening is also an essential type of listening. As a teacher, my credibility, logical argument and appeal influence how well the student receives my message. In order to earn her trust, I need to impress her that I tell the truth, with the best data, citing good sources and accurately portraying the facts. Then, she can draw her own conclusions, make exceptions, determine cause and effect relationships and make inferences. Students shouldn’t have to worry about my intent or motives for counseling her.
Discriminative listening allows you to be sensitive your student’s rate, volume, force and pitch. Using this type of listening, you can detect subtle nuances of difference in meaning. A sensitivity to pauses and nonverbal cues allows a careful listener to more accurately judge her student’s message. This type of listening depends on hearing ability, awareness of speech structure and non-verbal factors. As with all types of effective listening, discriminative listening requires skill and practice.