Two Types of Interpersonal Listening

Nov. 10, 2010

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 112 Number 11 (2010), p. 3-4.

Although the concept of listening had been neglected by philosophers of education, it has received focused attention since 2003, when Sophie Haroutunian-Gordon addressed it in her presidential address to the Philosophy of Education Society.

Haroutunian-Gordon offered a cognitive theory of listening, according to which an act of listening involves raising questions about both the speaker utterance and the listener's own beliefs.
Research Design: This article draws on the methods of philosophical analysis to provide a competing account of listening. This account distinguishes between two types of listening, a cognitive (thinking) type and a non-cognitive (empathic feeling) type.


By considering a number of familiar classroom incidents, the author shows that both kinds of listening have important roles in teaching and learning.


The author concludes that the empathic type of listening cannot be taught directly, but that teachers can provide three kinds of helps indirectly to foster its growth in learners.

Updated: Nov. 23, 2010