is a skill that takes both concentration and energy. A consultant
who actively listens to a writer will make statements such as
"What I'm hearing you say is..." or "It sounds
like..." as the writer is discussing their narrative. These
statements help to grant validitiy to the writers concerns and
demonstrate that the consultant is paying close attention to what
the writer is saying. More specific tactics to help convey active
- paraphrasing - repeat back to the
writer a summary of what have told you. This serves two important
purposes. In addition to showing the writer that you have been
paying attention to them, it is a way to ensure you have perceived
their concerns correctly and helps to avoid misunderstandings.
the writer questions as a means of inviting them to elaborate
on their thoughts and ideas.
- I statements - Making use of "I
statements" places the burden of understanding on you, the
consultant, rather than on the writer. Telling a writer that
"You're not explaining things very clearly" will likely
cause them to become defensive. Instead, say "I'm a little
confused. Would you be able to clarify this for me?"
- During a conference, consultants should lean foreward with
both feet on the floor and maintain good eye contact with the
with the writer at all times. This will help to further convey
friendlliness and interest.
- This section
regarding active listening was complied from Chapter 3 of "The
Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors."
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