English listening skills
Today our topic is about: How you can improve your English listening skills ? Nearly 80% of students who learn English they have difficulties understanding native speakers while talking and it puts them off. Because they can progress really well in reading and sometimes in writing but listening is a big problem for them.
This article will provide you with some tips that would help you improve in relatively short time. When you work on improving your listening skills in English, you actually help yourself start to understand native speakers more easily and more effectively. Not only that, it actually helps you improve your tone and intonation while speaking.
The first step to improve your English listening is to use a wide range of resources and listen to a wide range of accents as well. Why ? should be the first question that would pop up in your mind.. Simply because you are going to meet people from all over the world with all different accents and you’re going to need to understand them. English is an international language that is spoken in many different accents, so if you focused for example on one accent or one variety of English you might feel yourself not progressing.
You do not want to just be able to understand British people! So if you’re not doing it already it is time that you should start listening to as many accents as possible.
And when you’re doing that try to think about the different sounds that each accent makes. Actually some students find this way of practicing is very helpful, because there’s not a single definitive way of speaking English as we mentioned earlier. So you need to be able to recognize more or less everything and diversify your English.
Our next point is time factor. What does this mean? To explain this there is a question that you need to ask yourself, and you need to answer it yourself honestly. If you are working on improving your listening “How much time do you actually dedicate to practicing and improving your listening skills?” well remember you need to Answer honestly! Most of the students whom we asked this question said around 1 to 2 hours, and even then they might be exaggerating a little bit. Now you have realized that: You are probably not practicing enough, so it is time to start practicing right. Honestly speaking, practice makes perfect! You are not going to suddenly wake up and be perfect at listening. It needs time, it takes dedication, and most importantly, it needs patience. It is called a skill for a reason, and the reason here is, it is something that you have to develop principally on your own, also with help from others. The question now is “what is listening practice?” you might be wondering. Well, this article will provide you with lots of recommendations just for you.
It is time now to discuss “Resources” and more importantly variety of resources. The most obvious one is watching TV programs or movies in English.
This is great, but I think you can take it a step further. Maybe you are watching programs with English subtitles. That is good, but you do not want to rely on the subtitles. You need to learn with your ears and not with your eyes. What is highly recommend is, you do to take your listening to the next level is watch each program or movie “TWICE!” Probably, more achievable with short programs, let us say things that are less than 30 minutes. You could try a comedy like: Friends which is American English or maybe BBC news, where you can just watch the headlines which would be British English pronunciation. The first thing you will do is watching it first with no subtitles, see how much you can understand, and then I want you to watch it again with subtitles, and see what you did pick up and what you didn’t. Then note it for next time. Do not be afraid to replay things again and again and again! Because through this you will not only improve your listening, you are actually learning the patterns of voice that native speakers use.
Another thing that supports this strategy is, if you’ve got a listening exam or you’re going to have a telephone conversation or some sort of interview over the phone,
You are not going to be able to read the person’s lips! So, you really ought to practice listening blindly!
Another really good resource for practicing that often gets overlooked is using audio books. Reading is great for building your vocabulary but it does not do much for your listening skills, because a book does not offer you a pronunciation guide normally. So, you could to start listening to audiobooks and there are dozens of applications that could help you do so. Pick a book that is interesting and relevant to you, and by this we mean Judge it by your level!
If you are quite a low-level, choose a children’s book. For more intermediate maybe go something for teenagers, and if you are an advanced, then obviously go for something that is aimed at adults or maybe has a lot of technical language.
Remember that: If you want to check your understanding, you can always buy the book as well listen to a section and then read it, listen to another and then read it.
This is a wonderful way of improving your listening comprehension.
One of the best websites for audiobooks is audible
There is absolutely no catch, so try it out and see if it works for you.
The last point that we would discuss is multi task. Unlike reading or watching TV, listening is something that you can do whilst you do something else.
So once you have found your ideal resource, start to build a sort of pack of resources on your smart phone or your computer that you can take with you.
If you have a long car journey, on the way to work, on public transport, whilst you are doing something else like cooking, something you do not have to concentrate on, then you could listen to something in English! Actually that links back to the question “How much time do you actually dedicate practicing your English?”
Let us say you spend half an hour traveling to work each day and half an hour traveling back home each day and you listen to something in English for the entirety of those journeys. Each week, you will be doing five hours of listening practice, and that would be amazing! If you manage to do that, you will definitely improve in no time. Therefore, it is really a win-win situation. It is important to understand that you do not need it to be perfect, you do not need to understand every single word. You need to understand context and general meaning. If you spend too much time analyzing each word, the conversation or monologue will have moved on, by the time you finally understood the word that you are focusing on. So, instead of listening word-by-word listen to phrases as a whole.
That is all for now. Hope you find it useful and see you in our next article.
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