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Consequences Of Passive Listening English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 1099 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Passive listening occurs when a person is fully aware of a lecture, Conversation, or something audio that is going on in his or her presence but the person does not react to it. This essay is going to attempt to explain in details the consequences of passive listening.

A passive listener does not interrupt the speaker or perform any action whatsoever at the same time in which the speaker is delivering his or her speech. In most cases, a passive listener does not nod his or her head, make appropriate facial expressions, and make eye contacts with the speaker or any other action that indicates whether a person is paying attention or not. When a person concentrates on making non-verbal cues (nodding, eye contacts and so on), then he or she is probably not paying much attention in other words, listening passively because those actions come naturally to a person who is actively listening i.e. he or she does not have to concentrate on doing them. In some cases, passive listening is associated with students in the class room. A student who is listening passively to a lecture barely pays attention to details but at the end of the lecture, the student tends to remember 10% or less of the information passed through during the lecture session. This is because although the student was not paying much attention to the details, the student will zone in and out of his or her mind at regular intervals and in the process accidentally take in some valuable information. Usually, passive listening in students is caused by a dull lecture or an interruption in which a student is attracted to for example, cell phones. It is not always the fault of the lecturer because some topics are uninteresting by nature.

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Despite all the reasons and excuses a student might have for his or her lack of interest during lectures, the consequences for this action will have to be put into consideration because it can adversely affect a person’s academic participation and result. Listening passively without checking in on a conversation to verify that you have a message correct often leads to communication error. By simply being in a conversation without interjecting questions or active statements that uncover the speaker’s real message, a person’s personal ideas might begin to form about what the message might mean instead of what the message actually means. An example is when an apprentice technician joins the audience in an inaugural lecture. If he listens passively, he will only manage to listen to the sounds, he will not be able to meaningfully identify the spoken signals not to talk of correctly interpreting what is being said. This will result in errors in the person’s solutions or answers. If a person is listening passively, then the person is not speaking. Effective communication allows both the message sender and the receiver to express themselves in an even exchange of ideas.

A passive listener can be compared to a rock, you can see it and you know it is there, but it does not seem to be absorbing anything that you are saying. The reason why passive listening is mostly associated with students is because it occurs mainly with teenagers. Passive listening requires a lot of focus because a passive listener severely focuses on what he or she is listening to but is not doing anything apart from listening meaning he or she is not absorbing any information. The strain on unmonitored focus affects a person’s ability to understand. A person can store information correctly in the brain only when both the mind and brain of the individual are relaxed. Straining the brain to listen without any interest on details therefore results in a person’s lack of understanding, wastage of time and possibly head ache or brain clogging.

Some other practitioners of passive listening techniques are those attempting to learn a foreign language the audio way that is through an mp3 player or an audio CD player. This is common because when advertising these products, the marketing team make promises of satisfying results to whoever uses them. They include attractive slogans like “learn French the easy way just by listening to this audio CD while finishing your chores”. If a person is performing a task while listening to something, then the person is listening passively. The shocking truth is that passive listening cannot get a person to fluency in a language because it ever rarely produces any good results. What is even worse is that it will not help the ability of the person to understand the language he or she is attempting to learn. It is a fact that a passive listener is unable to correctly store, interpret and recall information, this fact also applies to a language learner who is listening passively. In plain words, a language learner who is listening passively will not be able to store, interpret and recall what has been said because language learning needs some amount of focus and understanding.

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In some cases, a person does not deliberately listen passively to a lecture or speech, passive listening can occur due to absent mindedness. In this situation, the source of this action is either the speaker or the listener. The speaker can be the cause of passive listening in an individual if his or her voice volume is too low and the listeners will have to strain their ears to listen. There will come a point in time when the listeners will finally give up on listening to the lecture because they are tired of straining their ears and the rest of the valuable information the speaker has to deliver will pass by the listeners ears and go to waste. There is also the case of complexity. When the speaker is using too many complex words or unnecessary issues and details, the listener tends to zone out and start to imagine all sorts of consequences for the discussion at hand and in the process missing out on some of the important key points. The listeners can also be at fault because at times, they focus on passing judgment on the speaker, topic or lecture so much that they forget the currently important speech they are supposed to be actively listening to and as a result they listen passively and miss out on the most important parts of the lecture.

In my research I have learnt that the word ‘consequence’ means outcome. The outcome of an event can be both good and bad since everything that has an advantage has a disadvantage. Everything I have mentioned on passive listening so far has been negative but it also has its own advantages.


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