Types of Strategies for Improving Listening Performance

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Different people may face different challenges in listening. It would be easier for you to solve the problem if you can pinpoint the area of challenges and have a wide range of strategies in your repertoire. The following list is provided to assist you.

Listening strategies can be grouped into four categories:

  • Perceptive listening is about encoding or mapping the sounds you hear. Pronunciation, speed, intonation and other factors may cause problems for students at the level of perceiving the sounds and making them into recognizable words. Alternatively, a listener may fail to get the message simply because s/he does not know the key words.
  • Most strategies listed on the last page are perceptive strategies.
  • They refer to mental processes that you use to understand and make sense of what you have heard. Cognitive strategies can be consciously adopted to foster understanding.
  • They include distinguishing main points from supporting ideas, using own knowledge to fill the gaps in understanding, taking notes, and paying attention to ways the speaker changes topics (e.g. using discourse markers, pauses or physical movements)
  • Metacognitive strategies are applied when the listener plans, monitors and evaluates the listening process (Goh, 2002, 2008). A person’s meta-cognitive awareness is their self-knowledge about learning (Flavell, 1979). In terms of listening, this means a student’s awareness of his or her own problems in listening and the ability to manage and act on these problems using specific and targeted strategies. For example, if a student does not know much about a topic, he or she might do some reading before the lecture which aids the listening and learning process.
  • Socio-affective strategies refer to listeners’ management of social relationships and negative emotions during listening (Chamot, 1993; Rahimirad & Moini, 2015).
  • The first half ‘socio’ simply means seeking help from people one knows.
  • Affective strategies include ways to remove distractions, and encourage oneself to go on listening attentively despite difficulty, lack of interest and so on.

For a more comprehensive discussion, you may refer to the following article.

Resource: Kohnke, L. et al (2018). Academic Listening Survival Strategies: A Guide for Students at English medium Universities. Open Educational Resource. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329738313_Academic_Listening_Survival_Strategies_A_Guide_for_Students_at_English_medium_Universities

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