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 speaker�s 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 �helps� indirectly to foster its growth in learners.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 11, 2010, p. 2743-2762 ID Number: 15790, Date Accessed: 10/20/2019 8:10:34 AM

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