Listening to Culture

Listening is an important component of not only communication, but every-day life. When addressing improving communication skills, being a better speaker is usually stressed. Strangely enough, we spend more time listening than talking. In this essay, we are going to look at listening skills and how they impact and improve the communicative process. To complete this assignment, the student will research a foreign culture, interview a native from that culture, and write an essay regarding the observations of the listening process.

The main focus of this essay is the listening process (chapter 5). The secondary focus is on culture and communication (chapter 6).

☐ 01–Find someone who is or has been an insider in another culture. It is easiest to find someone first rather than pick a culture and trying to find someone from that culture. Make sure they understand the interview will be recorded.

☐ 02–Set up your face-to-face interview. This is not a mediated conversation. Pick a safe, public place if you are unfamiliar with the individual. Be smart.

☐ 03–Do research on that culture using two book sources. Your research must come from at least two books. Websites will not be accepted as research.

☐ 04–Formulate questions using topics from the communication age and your research. Topics should be things from The Communication Age textbook such as:
☐-Cultural Rituals
☐-High-context vs low-context culture
☐-Gender influences
☐-etc . . .

☐ 05–Write your questions on a 3x5 index card. You may bring the card into the interview; however you may not take notes. You are to ask questions and listen.

☐ 06–Secure and test your recording equipment to make sure everything will work accordingly when it is time for the interview. You may use a cell phone or other recording device. Test the device to make sure it will work.

☐ 07–Conduct and record a thirty-minute interview. Make sure you inform the interviewee that you are recording the interview. You may not take notes during or after the interview. Just listen and be in the moment. The recording will be used for the second section of the essay.

☐ 08–Write the first half of your essay. This is all from memory, no notes or books, and is on what you learned about the culture. You may look at your 3x5 card to help you remember any questions. Cite using MLA or APA formatting. Remember, you may not go back and read your books for reference, and no notes from the interview or the recording of the interview are allowed. All of your writing of this first section will be from memory. Once this section is written, you may only make grammatical changes. Leave any listening errors intact for discussion in the next section of the essay.

☐ 09–Listen to your recorded interview and take note on how well you listened.

☐ 10–Write the second half of your essay discussing your ability as a listener. How well did you listen? Were there things that you misheard, or misinterpreted? How does a recording change your view on the process of being a competent listener? Make sure to cover three Important areas from the textbook:
☐-Listening problems (107-112)
☐-Types of listening (113-116)
☐-Becoming a better listener (116-120)

☐ 11–Write a conclusion that ties together the essay.

☐ 12–Edit for grammar and turn in your essay.

The paper itself is about listening with culture as the context.

5 points Construction: Introduction/Thesis/Conclusion/Flow
10 points Listening problems (107-112)
10 points Types of listening (113-116)
10 points Becoming a better listener (116-120)
5 points Epilogue
10 points MLA Formatting and Grammar
50 Total Points for this Essay

Remember, this is a university-level paper. Paragraphs and ideas should be well developed and the entire essay should flow smoothly. Points are given on the development of each concept. Take time to pre-write beforehand and reserve time for editing afterwards. A disorganized, spasmodic paper will be graded accordingly.



If you are having difficulties finding someone to interview, Weber State University is a great resource for finding students from a different culture. I have spoken with all three of the following organizations and they were all enthusiastically receptive to helping you with your interview. Also, Weber has many public and open spots for you to conduct your interview. You can click on the organization's name to go to their respective website or call the number. Their offices are normally open Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

International Student and Scholar Center - 801-626-6853
Diversity and Unity Center - 801-626-6957
Center for Multicultural Excellence - 801-626-7330