When teaching listening, it is helpful to understand the basic “real time” nature of perception and processing. It is a continuous process that involves instantaneous recognition of what is heard and instant calculation of potential meaning.
The two essential processes are:
- hearing: ear to brain transmission of sound
- initial registration: parallel calculations of emotional tone, word recognition, and meaning potential (syntax)
While it is certainly not necessary to grasp the details of these processes, understanding the speed at which listening takes place will instill a sense of empathy in the teacher and may lay the groundwork for supportive teaching practices.
Source: Rita Carter, The Human Brain, DK 1999