The process of listening

Listening as a receptive communicative processes has its “product” i.e. the information received. The ultimate purpose of listening is to get the “ideational structures” of the message, which makes a coherent whole. This coherent whole on paper can take the form of the “story map”, “flow diagrams” and “tree diagrams”(After Burgess, J. 1996. The Teaching of Listening Skills in a Second Language. University of Manchester. Unit 2. P. 18-20).

The function of the grid is to organise the message in the chunks of meaning as a result of the listening process. E.g.

Who? When? What? How? Why?

The function of The process of listening the flow chartis to retain the sequential relationshipbetween the elements of meaning in the oral text, which is perceived in the process of listening to it. These texts can describe a process, a set of instructions, narrate events in a chronological order or show a chain of cause and effect.

Event 1 Event 2 Event 3

Students can get the task of listening to “how potato crisps are made”. To do the task they are to look at the diagram and to complete the notes in each box in the diagram. Each box equals one stage of the process.

1. Large potatoes are The process of listening washed… 2. 3. The peeled potatoes are …
4. 5. 6.
7. 8. The crisps are put into … 9. Finally…

(Adapted from Rixon, Sh. , 1986. Developing Listening Skills. Modern English Publications. P. 69)

A heard text can produce classification diagram. Usually it contains the rubrics for placing under them features and qualities of the phenomenon under study. E.g.

Living Beings
Animals ? · Feeding · Breeding · Breathing · Moving · Food-chain · Internal circulation · Senses · Reaction Plants ?

A text can produce a reasoning map as shown below. A “reasoning map” can contain the definition of the problem, possible solutions to these problems, evaluation of consequences for every suggested solution and the preferred decision The process of listening to be made.

Solution 1 Solution 2 Solution 3
Consequences Consequences Consequences
Preferred solution

(Adapted from Rixon, Sh. , 1986. Developing Listening Skills. Modern English Publications. P. 61)

The function of the tree diagram is to store the information, which was heard from the spoken text and to show the relationship between the items. Most common example is the “family tree” (see below the tree diagram of the text about “stage-fright).

Fear Panic
Anxiety Increased heart rate Sweaty palms Feeling of terror

(After Burgess, Sally., and R. Acklam. 1998. First Certificate Gold. Teacher’s Book. Longman. P. 58)

If the text is built The process of listening around one concept, to which other details are added (e.g. “What is happiness?”), then a suitable way to represent the contents can be a mind map. It has one central concept in the middle and the surrounding notions or details linked to the central concept.


In order to keep mental record of the heard information about dynamic processes, the listeners can resort to graphs and bar charts.E.g. “temperature and rain dynamics” during a limited period of time as reported in the text for listening.

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