Listening Literacies

There are three given types of literacy: “functional literacy (the ability to use reading, writing, and/or other basic knowledge required to accomplish what minimally needs to get done in everyday life or in some field that matters to you); critical literacy (knowing how to analyze, create, and critique texts or other forms of knowledge, identifying their purposes, and evaluating their ethical or social consequences)” (Writing in Many Media). This situation is a perfect example of advanced literacy defined as “sufficient mastery of reading, writing, and/or other essential knowledge that equips you to mentor others, to detect and troubleshoot basic kinds of problems, and to begin using your literacy in more skillful ways” (Writing in Many Media).

The ability to listen is categorized as “other essential knowledge.” One must first master listening before he or she can offer advice to others or identify issues during conversation. One must be able to sense troublesome topics and grasp the feelings the speaker is expressing. People who are oblivious to their conversation partner’s feelings can be offensive or insensitive.

Being engaged is also very important when considering the definition of advanced literacy. Again, “being able to detect and troubleshoot basic kinds of problems” stems from being an engaged listener. If one wasn’t truly engaged in the conversation he or she would not pick up on the problems presented in the conversation.

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