Listen while you learn

Ratna Rao
How does a child learn his native tongue? By listening. The child starts listening, some say, even while in the womb of the mother, to the sounds of the language the mother speaks. Listening is the foundation of any language teaching and learning process. But unfortunately, listening is one skill that is today given the least importance in the process of teaching and learning the English language. According to some studies a new born baby can recongnise the sound of the door bell or the ringing of the phone in his/her home as he/she must have heard it many a times in the womb. The example of Abhimanyu from our mythology will suffice to prove this point. But strangely this skill is never taught. It is taken for granted that the child already knows how to listen. That’s why we now have a generation of students who have no patience for listening; the only thing they are interested in is speaking and putting forth their ideas and opinions. Good listening skills can make a student an excellent speaker and a person who has patience can imbibe/ learn more through listening.

The author is a teacher trainer and is currently a teacher at Calorx Teachers’ University, Ahmedabad. She can be reached at

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