Two Types of Interpersonal Listening
by Leonard J. Waks — 2010
Background/Context: Although the concept of listening had been neglected by philosophers of education, it has received focused attention since 2003, when Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon addressed it in her presidential address to the Philosophy of Education Society.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: Haroutunian-Gordon offered a cognitive theory of listening, according to which an act of listening involves raising questions about both the speakerï¿½s utterance and the listener's own beliefs.
Research Design: This article draws on the methods of philosophical analysis to provide a competing account of listening. This account distinguishes between two types of listening, a cognitive (thinking) type and a noncognitive (empathic feeling) type.
Findings/Results: By considering a number of familiar classroom incidents, I show that both kinds of listening have important roles in teaching and learning.
Conclusions/Recommendations: I conclude by questioning whether the empathic type of listening can directly be taught. I conclude that it cannot be, but that teachers can provide three kinds of ï¿½helpsï¿½ indirectly to foster its growth in learners.
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