I find this interesting because in English/rhetoric & composition, we spend a lot of time talking about the need to communicate to an intended audience. Writers and speakers are always asked to communicate with the audience in mind. But I don’t think we spend enough time asking listeners to listen with the speaker or writer in mind. We put all the burden on the speaker/writer and little on the listener. This is relevant, in my opinion, to debates about what constitutes “appropriate” language or proper usage conventions. Whose standards are we being asked to perform to and whose cultures, language practices and conventions are being marginalized? Focusing on listening and empathy seems important in this regard.


Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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