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Selective Listening Skills

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I've picked these up over the years. Special thanks to Kirsten Reitan, TESOL programs, and Interactions 1 Listening/Speaking for the inspiration.

These are 7 rules of Selective Listening:

1. You will not understand everything that you hear.
2. That's okay.
3. Focus, on what you already know and understand.
4. You do not need to understand every word in order to answer the question.
5. Instead, look for the main idea.
6. Yvon, how do I find the main idea?
7. Look for stressed (accented) words (content-filled words).

Write this sentence on the board-

Please, put your papers on my desk at the end of class.

Which words are stressed?

put - papers - on - desk - end - class.

Though, it's ungrammatical, it's still understandable. Selective listening means training your ear to listen for stressed words. That's where the important information is to be found.

I find once my students absorb this, they're able to hear and understand people who speak English much more rapidly.

Yvon Malenfant
Hankook University of Foreign Studies
Yongin, South Korea
harpo@hufs.ac.kr

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