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Dialogical moment Creating an overall view

Method 3: Word-for-word listening (Word-for-word reception and coding, listening)

(Word-for-word reception and coding, listening, preparatory orientation to dialogue II, dialogue scene 14, in English 10)

The goal of this task is that the participants learn to receive another person's speech in a word-for-word manner – to listen to every word. The opposite of word-for-word reception is randomly bundling up another person's speech and filling gaps in information on the basis of one's own assumptions. The objective is to learn to listen in such a manner that all the information related by another participant is available to the listener exactly as it is. This will help one steer clear of the drawbacks of assumptions and imagining caused by randomly received information.

Remember to consciously observe whether your actions and behaviour follow the principles of philanthropy and reciprocity!


  • the participants pair up or the teacher determines how they form pairs
  • the theme chosen for the dialogue ought to be meaningful from the perspective of learning goals
  • the members of each pair take alternate roles: that of a speaker and that of a listener
  • stop and concentrate, be present in both roles
  • empty your mind of errant thoughts, listen without criticising or judging
  • the speaker speaks two short sentences that form a whole
  • the listener repeats the other participant's speech verbatim
  • while practising this method, the other person's speech is repeated verbatim (at other times, word-for-word repetition is not a goal as such) because this helps one to be precise when listening to others; this skill is necessary in other dialogical methods
  • one member of the pair will relate five wholes which are repeated by the listener
  • the roles are reversed
  • word-for-word listening, when one neither adds to another's speech nor takes away from it, is practised determinedly until it becomes an automatic process
  • the participants weave a synthesis (an overall view) of what they learned from receiving another person's speech verbatim.

Reflection in the learning community: The whole group jointly reflects upon their experiences of the task and thinking that it caused. One useful question for this reflection is ”What did you become aware of through this task?” Another, more demanding question is, ”What did you learn from this task?” A third question could be ”How did this task go?” or ”What happened?” The purpose of the reflection is that several participants, not only some, share their thinking and experiences. When the reflection part is completed, every participant has gained an understanding of word-for-word reception and listening which enables them to continue practising on their own in real life situations.