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Mindfully Listen in Class

Submitted By: Kassandra Taylor


Salt Lake Community College
COMM-1010-402-F14
October 6, 2014

Overview
Im currently taking my third semester of college this fall, and have learned quite a few things in such a
short period of time. I have learned that like high school, there are always going to be good classes, and
bad classes, or hard classes and easy classes. There are also going to be superb professors, and
incompetent professors. Last but certainly not least, there are going to be high and low days. But what it
really comes down to, is your attitude. You decide how you feel each morning, and what mood you feel
like being in. You decide if youre going to make the most of it, or make the least of it. And the best way
to apply this in terms of school, would be to show up to class, with a positive attitude, ready to listen,
observe, learn, and grow. And the first step in doing this, would be to listen attentively in class, or
mindfully listen (Adler, Elmhorst, & Lucas, p. 66) and focus on the current material being given.
Description of Problem
There are many times where I show up to class, having read the material and taken notes on the latest
chapter, but still very unaware and unready. I am usually preoccupied (Adler, Elmhorst, & Lucas, p. 63),
and feel as if I get a message overload (Adler, Elmhorst, & Lucas, p. 64) more often than not. I recently
started a new job, am about to be engaged and begin the process of planning a wedding, and still live at
home with my crazy, rather large family of eight. Those three things are usually on my mind. If its not
how many hours Im going to be able to squeeze in that week, its when and where I think my boyfriend
might propose, or how my sibling is going through a rough spot in his life, or how our cousin just got her
gallbladder out at nineteen. I always feel as if there are five-hundred things going on at once, and this
definitely causes me to mindlessly listen (Adler, Elmhorst, & Lucas, p. 66) in class at times. In other
words, sometimes I just dont pay as much attention to the instructor and their lecture, or PowerPoint, as I
should.
Resources and Constraints
By taking this online Communications 1010 course, I have been able to have a whole new experience
when it comes to obtaining and learning the material I need I know. Instead of showing up to a classroom
once, twice, or several times a week, I am required to log onto Canvas and do most of my work on there.
Through Canvas, I am able to see which chapters I need to read out of the textbook, Communicating at
Work: Strategies for Success in Business and The Professions, view videos, and read any other online
coursework and/or instructions for assignments. The textbook has been a big resource to me, because it is
defining terms, in a way that I couldnt. I didnt know there was a specific term for how to listen, and how
to not; or that there were so many different listening styles, techniques or strategies. I also didnt know
that there were so many different ways of reacting verbally, and nonverbally. On the other hand though,
the book can also be a constraint. It is just words on a page, and doesnt exactly give me any experience.
And thats where my other classes come in. Aside from this course and one other online course, I am
talking two in class courses at a SLCC campus. By going to class each week, I can gain the experience I
need and apply a solution to my problem.
Recommendations
There are four steps to solve this simple, but frequent problem. The first would be to do as I stated earlier,
and show up to class ready to listen, observe, learn, and grow. In doing so, I will need to leave my life,
and outside problems at the door, and center all my thoughts and attention towards the instructor and their
message for the day. I can also tune in and mindfully listen. The second step would be to ask questions
(Adler, Elmhorst, & Lucas, p. 64), and not just any questions, but real, genuine, sincere questions as
suggested on page 68 of the textbook. The third step would be to take clear, concise, notes (Adler,
Elmhorst, & Lucas, p. 71). Not only will this help me to remember important dates, details, ideas, or
instructions, but it will also help the instructor to know that I value what they have to say in their lecture,

or PowerPoint, enough to write it down, so I can remember it and apply it in the future. The fourth and
final step in implementing my better listening plan, would be to ask follow up questions or paraphrase
(Adler, Elmhorst, & Lucas, p. 69) statements, to the instructor at the end of class, and double check my
notes to make sure they are correct and that I interpreted the right meaning of the message.
Summary
I am generally the quieter student, who sits in the middle or back of the classroom. I try to stay out of
sight, and out of mind of the instructor or professor, so they wont call on me. Occasionally I will
comment, or ask a question when something is unclear to me, but other than that, I usually keep to myself
and my notebook. I always take notes of some sort, or highlight specific things in the text or handout in
front of me. But sometimes you can be in the classroom, and not of it. This is another way of saying
youre there physically, but youre not there mentally. I can work on this by listening more attentively in
class, asking questions, detailing and updating my current notes, and by paraphrasing, so I know for a fact
that I understand for myself, what I just learned. The purpose of college is to further your education, so
you can succeed and move forward in your life, not remain stuck in neutral.
Works Cited

Adler, R & J. Elmhorst. (2010). COMM 1010: SLCC Custom Edition. New York: McGraw Hill.