Updated: Jan 14
Okay. So you want to improve your listening skills. Let me give you something to try and some tips. Here we go.
1. Listen to something that interests you
Many language organisations will make you listen to things that you are not interested in, or which bore you. I understand why they do this. But the reality is that if you listen to things which interest you, you are more likely to engage with the material. This will help. Do you like football, fashion, politics, music, and so on? Then choose a topic which interests you.
2. Listen to something authentic
Authentic, basically, means ‘genuine’ or ‘real’. English people will use authentic English when they speak to you. The sooner you start to listen to authentic English, the better it will be. Will it be challenging? Of course!
I almost always use YouTube clips when I teach listening. Why? First, because there is almost always something on YouTube that people are interested in. Secondly, because many YouTube ‘clips’ can be ‘slowed down’, by use of the settings ‘wheel’ which appears at the bottom of every clip. It is possible to watch many YouTube clips at speeds which are half as fast (0.5) or at three-quarter speed (0.75). Thirdly, many YouTube clips have English subtitles. However, please, please do not use these immediately. I will say more about this in a moment.
3. Have a pen and a lot of paper ready.
Get a pen and a lot of paper. I said you needed discipline and patience, and you do. This exercise is about listening, but it will involve a lot of writing, too. This will help, I promise.
Okay, now you are ready to go. I have chosen a clip, as an example. It is a 'Ted Talk' (these are excellent, for many reasons) by one of my personal favourite speakers, Simon Sinek. I will use it as an example only. I will share the clip with you in the next part.