effective listening

lyndrey niles, Ph.D.

April 22, 2009


During his forty years at Howard University, Dr. Lyndrey Niles distinguished himself as an administrator, scholar, and teacher in the field of communication sciences.  Prior to retiring in 2005, he served as a Professor of Communication, Chairman of the Department of Human Communication, Director of the Annenberg Honors Program, and Associate Dean of both the School of Communication and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.  An expert on Black rhetoric, Dr. Niles published ground-breaking studies of traditional black preaching in the early 1980s when it was difficult to find any scholarly publications about Black preaching.  Known for his teaching as well as his scholarship, Dr. Niles also received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the National Speech Communication Association in 1996.  This award honored “an NCA member who exemplifies superlative teaching in higher education, as evidenced by written recommendations of students, colleagues, and campus administrators.” 

Long before he arrived at Howard, Dr. Niles began to investigate listening.  His master’s thesis, The Relative Effectivenesss of Note-taking Methods in Listening, revealed how note-taking while listening led to greater long-term retention than listening with a ready-made sentence outline or listening without receiving an outline or taking notes.  This study and other research led him to design “open” outlines (such as the one posted under HANDOUTS on the right) to facilitate students’ note-taking.  All in all, his research and teaching have demonstrated that listening is a complex skill that deserves more attention.

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