Wolvin Research in Huff Post

Kai Degner, a candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, a listening advocate and coach/facilitator, the founder of The OrangeBand Initiative, and a former Mayor and current Councilmember in Harrisonburg, VA, has quoted extensively from Professor Andrew Wolvin's groundbreaking research on listening in a new column appearing in the Huffington Post

Entitled "Listen: How to Trump Trump and Make America Greater than Ever," Degner's column calls for much greater civility in the public discourse surrounding the candidacy of Donald Trump. Part of that turn to civility, says Degner, involves an increase in critical listening: "And Americans don’t listen - and it’s not just a conservative problem. Perhaps the pressure cooker in the melting pot isn’t solely the result of callous Republicans scheming against Obama and using words to de-legitimize his presidency, as Senator Warren proposes. Perhaps the pressure and heat in the Melting Pot of America is built up because know-it-all, smug, self-righteous liberals are too smart, too uncomfortable, and too arrogant to sit down with a Trump supporter, crack open a Budweiser, and shut the fuck up for 15 minutes. (Yes, that made me feel alive, and was not civil. Don’t kill me.) So the solution is simple: everyone listen. Not exactly simple. I define listening as what it takes to make the speaker feel understood and respected. This sounds simple, but it is actually incredibly complicated. Think listening is easy? Check out this list of traits for an effective listener."

Degner concludes that "Broken down this way, listening involves much more than many of us have ever considered. And, to show how little handle we have on listening, the source of the list above is a combination of two tables in a research article from November 2015 that compares 53 different listening assessments and concludes, among other things, that there is not one listening test out there that measures all these aspects of listening." The article cited by Degner is Peter C. Fontana, Steven D. Cohen, & Andrew D. Wolvin. “Understanding Listening Competency: A Systematic Review of Research Scales.” The International Journal of Listening. 29.3 (2015): 148-176.

Peter Fontana was a graduate student in Maryland's Computer Science department and Steven Cohen (below, right) is a Ph.D. alumnus of the Department of Communication who now teaches at the University of Baltimore.


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