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Listening and Reading Critically


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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:29 by NZTecAdmin

General information

Texts are never neutral. The values and beliefs of the writer or speaker affect the messages that are communicated. For this reason, it is important for adult learners to develop the skills for thinking critically about the texts they read, view, or hear. Thinking critically involves analysing and interpreting meanings, responding critically to texts when reading and listening, and being critically aware when writing and speaking. Adult learners develop their awareness of speakers’ and writers’ different perspectives and purposes in order to gain deeper levels of meaning, to avoid being manipulated by writers and speakers and to gain insights and enjoyment from the texts they engage with.

Listen with Understanding: Listening Critically progression

Listening includes the development of critical thinking, leading eventually to the listener being able to evaluate a speaker’s purpose, assess how well they have met that purpose, decide how valid and reliable the information is and identify the speaker’s attitude or bias.

The progression for Listening Critically describes development from having a limited awareness of purpose and audience to having well developed skills of reflection, analysis and evaluation. In order to listen critically, adult learners need first to be able to understand the sense of oral discourse. Basic listening skills and strategies, including comprehension strategies, are needed before the listener is in a position to be more critical about what they hear. This does not mean that critical listening has to wait for adult learners to be ready in some way. All adults will be able to relate to some of the ways in which spoken language (such as a powerful speech, a “hard sell”, or a coaxing invitation) is used to achieve a particular purpose with a specific audience in mind.

Read with Understanding: Reading Critically progression

Reading includes the development of critical thinking, which leads to the reader being able to evaluate a writer’s purpose, assess how well they have met that purpose, decide how valid and reliable the information is and identify the writer’s attitude or bias.

All the learning progressions in the strand Read with Understanding (except Decoding) include the idea of thinking critically in that each describes development from having only a limited awareness of purpose and audience to having well developed skills of reflection, analysis and evaluation.

Basic reading skills and strategies, including comprehension strategies, are needed before the reader is in a position to apply a more critical eye to a text. This does not mean that critical reading has to wait for adult learners to be ready in some way. All adults will be able to relate to some of the ways in which written and visual language (such as an amusing television advertisement, a strongly worded letter to the editor, or a clear set of instructions) is used to achieve a particular purpose with a specific audience in mind.

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