Listening and observing can be passive activities—in one ear and out the other, as our mothers used to say, Mind/Shift reports. Or they can be rich, active, intense experiences that lead to serious learning. The difference lies in our intention: the purpose and awareness with which we approach the occasion. Here’s how to make sure your intentions are good. Research on how we learn a second language demonstrates that effective listening involves more than simply hearing the words that float past our ears. Rather, it’s an active process of interpreting information and making meaning. Studies of skilled language learners have...
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