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Although listening is valued in engineering education literature, it is conspicuously absent from engineering curricula. Using interview data, data from published literature, reflective instructional experiences, and the intersection of those three data sources, this study investigates two primary issues: (1) engineering students' sources of resistance to listening instruction in a sustainable community development initiative, and (2) benefits from such instruction. Findings feature a proposed theory of contextual listening and suggest that sources of resistance include the paucity of listening instruction in the engineering curriculum and curricular components that may devalue listening. Benefits of a listening intervention are described, and implications are discussed.