CONCEPT The Experiential Listening Space
Practical Considerations: THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
It is helpful to view the experiential listening space from the perspective or “mindset” of the actual listener. The active listener will be considering a number of questions while listening:
• Am I interested in this (input)?
• Does this (topic) relate to what I already know and have a stake in? (Is it “authentic” for me?)
• Do I want to engage with this (content)?
• Do I want to interact with (my fellow students)?
• Is there something for me to do?
• Is there a “shortcut” for me to achieve my goal? (Do I know a way to get to the outcome faster/easier)?
• Is there an external reward? (extrinsic: Do I “win” something?)
• Is there an internal reward? ( intrinsic: Does learning (the content) help me?)
• Will I receive helpful feedback about my efforts?
UPTAKE: All of this represents a mindset of considering the listener experience as central to the communication process.
This is a model I’ve been developing for a while, based on concepts of linguistics and pragmatics: I see the listener as central in the communication process, whether live or remote, “completing” the communication.
In this sense, I see the listener as occupying an “experiential space”, engaging in three relative actions: comprehending, interpreting, and interacting. (Of course, as soon as the listener enacts the “respond” mode, they are becoming “speakers” and their interlocutors are becoming listeners, so this is a fluid process.)
Comprehending consists of 5 overlapping cognitive processes:
• Decoding the sound and other sensory signals that are coming in
• Identifying words and syntactic structures to stabilize the input
• Inferring the sense of any ambiguous or un-decoded structures (and there are a lot!)
• Organizing the incoming input with prior knowledge to create larger structures
• Encoding the new “information package” to LTM so that it can be retrieved later
Similarly, Interpreting consists of 5 interrelated cognitive processes:
• Building an internal “representation” that coheres the input
• Reflecting on the meaning of your representation
• Considering why any new information is relevant/why the speaker is telling you this
• Judging the validity of the input
• Framing the event in a larger context
And, Interacting consists of 5 related socio-cognitive processes
• Showing your speaker that you are connected to their intention to communicate
• Monitoring your emotions and feeling of responsiveness
• Protecting the relationship with the speaker as you speak (politeness, deference…)
• Confirming-Clarifying any ambiguous or missing information/intentions
• Responding to the speaker