Listening is a complex ability, involving the coordination of multiple cognitive processes. As such, listening is not a single, isolated skill, but rather a complex of psychological processes that can be isolated and developed.
This means that there are a number of practices that will help someone listen better. The key is to find the practices that give you “the most bang for the buck.”
The key distinction to be made is which “domain” of listening you wish to emphasize: comprehension, interpretation, or response (Wang & Dahler, 2017; Rost, 2016; Calkins, Ehrenworth & Lehman, 2012). These three processes – comprehending, interpreting, and responding – can be seen as representing the essential domains of listening: objective, subjective, and interactive (See Figure 1).
Michael Rost, principal author of Pearson English Interactive, has been active in the areas of language teaching, learning technology and language acquisition research for over 25 years. His interest in bilingualism and language education began in the Peace Corps in West Africa and was fuelled during his 10 years as an educator in Japan and extensive touring as a lecturer in East Asia and Latin America. Formerly on the faculty of the TESOL programs at Temple University and the University of California, Berkeley, Michael now works as an independent researcher, author, and speaker based in San Francisco.