Session Title: Developing Listening Skills for Critical Thinking
Presenters: Melissa L. Beall, Dwight Harfield

Name: Desiree Welty
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 This session provides a study of listening/feedback behavior from a cognitive and skills-based perspective as an integral part of the communication process. The focus is on development of listening/feedback skills, and an awareness of barriers to effective listening and feedback.

Listening is a cognitive construct.

Dwight Harfield developed the Harfield Cognitive Listening Model, a model of listening that involves thinking components.

The Model focuses on three components: Thinking preferences, Focus & Attention, and remembering

Thinking Preferences- How do our thinking selves (right-brained or left-brained) affect listening?

Focus & attention- We only have one target of focus. When we are focused, nothing else in our environment exists. Our brain organize thoughts and helps us to be absorbed in what we are doing and thinking.

Remembering- we only remember what we are emotionally connected to.

Listening Activity for focus and attention-

-Hand each participant an index card

-ask them to put a dot anywhere on the card

-ask them to stare at the dot for as long as they can (wait until the majority of people are done)

-How difficult was it for them to stare at the dot/

-Ask them to stare at the dot again. This time, they must ask questions about the dot. (What is its shape, size, color, etc.?)

-Was it easier to focus on the dot when they were asking questions?


Listening Activity: Sound of Silence

Have students listen to the Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel

When they are done listening, ask them the following questions:

  • In the first verse, to whom does the singer say “hello”?

  • Why does the singer want to talk to his old friend?

  • He walked along the streets made of what material?

  • He turned his collar to the and ?

  • What flashed and stabbed his eyes?

  • How many people did the singer see?

  • To who did the people bow and pray?

How many questions could the students answer correctly? What may or may have affected their ability to answer the question correctly?

Listening requires undivided attention. Some students may need to listen to the song as much as five times before they can answer tall the questions.