What are informative listening and lecture cues?

This is the third of four lessons about Listening for Lecture Cues. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Introduce the concept of informative lecture cues

– Divide informative lecture cues into five types

– Provide examples of each type to assist comprehension

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Lesson 3

While understanding the overall organisation of a lecture will certainly provide the listener with the skills to follow ideas, it’s important for a listener to also be aware of when the presenter is signalling important information during a presentation, as such information will be the primary content for taking effective notes. We’ve divided such informative lecture cues into five types, which are definition, opinion, source, implication and example cues. Consider first the following paragraph:

Listening for Lecture Cues 3.1 Informative Cues Example

The first cue in our example (1) is used to introduce a definition, in this case about lecture cues themselves. Being able to recognise definition cues is an important aspect of academic listening as these informative cues will quickly alert you to the subject-specific vocabulary that’s crucial for understanding the topic.

Listening for Lecture Cues 3.2 Definition Cues

Similarly, it is important to recognise when source materials are being presented in a speech as this information is very likely the academic foundation of the presentation. Because sources will probably be used to support and exemplify main ideas and claims, it’s important that a listener is able to recognise source cues (2/4/5) and reporting language, as in the following examples:

Listening for Lecture Cues 3.3 Source Cues

The third type of informative cue noticeable in our example paragraph is the example cue (3). As the name suggests, such cues are used to provide examples, historical events and case studies to support a presentation:

Listening for Lecture Cues 3.4 Example Cues

Next is the implication cue (6), which is used after an example or source has been provided by the speaker to contextualise that evidence for the listener. It’s important in academic language to mention the wider impact and relevance of information, and such cues are therefore perfect for doing just that:

Listening for Lecture Cues 3.5 Implication Cues

The final type of informative lecture cue is used to indicate and provide opinion (7) to the listener, whether the presenter’s opinion or a source’s. Opinion cues are therefore quite an important cue type as they are used to indicate the presenter’s overall stance on a topic, which is a necessary aspect to understand if the listener wishes to use the lecturer’s information again as evidence in their own work.

Listening for Lecture Cues 3.6 Opinion Cues

Memorise and recognise these lecture cues and you should be both better prepared for careful listening during a presentation and better able to make effective notes at the same time. Two additional categories of lecture cue however still remain, and so if you wish to perfect your listening then you’ll need confidence with these also.

3 of 4 Lessons Completed


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