Improving your language skills is a journey of discovery, allowing you to learn new things about other people and yourself. Academic Listening Encounters: Life in Society is like a compass or roadmap that can help you along this path. The material in this book is taken from the discipline of sociology: the study of people in society and the way we live in groups.
You may find ideas that are new and also material that reminds you of your own community and personal experiences. Active involvement is at the heart of any type of learning, so you should use this book as a context for your own experience. The specific academic skills you can expect to improve are listening, note taking, and discussion.
Listening to people is often a challenge because they may speak quickly, use words that you have never heard, or interrupt each other. Lecturers do not usually speak in the same way as they write, and it can be hard to understand how a lecture is organized. This book will give you practice in listening to people of all ages, backgrounds, and regions, and you will gain confidence as your comprehension improves.
Secondly, the book emphasizes the tools that will allow you to become a better note taker. Note taking is a vital skill for all kinds of academic study, but taking notes on interviews or lectures is different from taking notes on text because usually you cannot go back and check your comprehension. Taking notes on recorded material that you can listen to again, however, allows you to do just that. You will learn how to use symbols and abbreviations that will help you take notes quickly, and you will also learn how to organize your notes in efficient ways that allow you to review the material easily. This will help you to develop the confidence you need when you are a participant in a conversation or at a lecture.
Finally, do not neglect the opportunity to discuss the material in the chapters. In this book, you may find ideas that surprise you, concepts that catch your attention, or stories that make you want to share a time in your own life with your classmates. Use the opportunity to develop your listening skills while you listen to others contribute their voices to the class discussion, Then take your turn at sharing your own impressions and experiences. If you are shy about speaking, consider that discussion is an art that we all continue to improve throughout our lives, and remember always that other people will be enriched by what you have to say.
Good luck with your academic studies in English!