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On Listening & Learning

November 27, 2007

As we approach final exam time around the country, perhaps it’s time to think about how listening and learning are intertwined. Let’s “hear” from several people:

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. — Ralph Nichols

It seems that we shall eventually come to believe that the responsibility for effective oral communication must be equally shared by speakers and listeners. When this transpires, we shall have taken a long stride toward greater economy in learning, accelerated personal growth, and significantly deepened human understanding. — Ralph Nichols

I think I’ll learn more from listening. Anything I would say I already know. — Anonymous student explaining while she did not wish to participate in a discussion, quoted in Christian Science Monitor

A little-recognized value of listening and inquiring relates to the realization that in human relationships, it is frequently not what the facts are, but what people think the facts are, which is truly important. There is benefit in learning what someone else’s concept of the reality of the situation is, no matter how wrong it might be. — Bryan Bell

Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearing of little children tends towards the formation of character. — Hosea Ballou

An intelligent person is someone who listens with understanding. — M. Bradley

Oh, listen a lot and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking. — Bing Crosby

We listen in order to learn and retain information. If we are speaking, we are not listening or learning anything to add to our sum of knowledge. This is why the first step to effective listening is to stop talking! — Ken Fracaro

Stay tuned . . . I’ll post more quotations on listening and learning later this week.

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