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IMPROVING YOUR LISTENING SKILLS: PART 3 (B1 AND ABOVE)

Updated: Jan 14

Okay. So the clip I have chosen is from a talk by Simon Sinek. You will find the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BH8MtM9Euo . It is called ‘Find your why’. I am only using this clip as an example. What I am going to show you will apply to almost any listening exercise you choose; particularly on YouTube.


For this exercise, there are some rules. And you must stick with them. Here are the rules.


1. Listen to the clip in no more than 5– 10 second ‘chunks’.


A ‘chunk’ is a thick, solid piece of something. In English, if you have a thick slice of cake, we call it a chunk of cake. Listening to your chosen material in about 10 second chunks – and no more – is vital.



2. Do not watch or listen to the clip with subtitles – in English or your own language


This is really important. Switch off all subtitles for this exercise – until I tell you! This is a listening exercise. If you want to improve your listening, then listen!

What do I mean by ‘listen’? I mean actively listen. We are listening for sounds. When you actively listen, you are trying to listen to the natural sounds of spoken English. Having your subtitles on will not help you with this skill, I promise you.



3. Listen to the material at ‘full speed’.


What? Do you mean…..full speed? Yes, I do. If you want to understand spoken English, at full speed, you have to listen to it at…..full speed. ‘But, Mark, isn’t that difficult?’ Yes, it is. But you can do it. I said it would be challenging, but trust me. For now, let’s listen to the material at full speed.



4. Play the first ‘chunk’ of material and write down everything you hear.


Listening and writing down what you hear is vital to this exercise. In the clip I have chosen, the first 10 seconds of listening is ideal. “So, I listen to the first 10 seconds of material at full speed and write down everything I hear?” Correct. So, let’s do it.


“Mark, I tried. I didn’t understand a word that Simon said.”


I didn’t ask you to understand a word. I asked you to write down what you hear. If you hear one or two sounds, that is a good start. But, I guarantee you heard several sounds. Maybe this is all you heard:


“be lead one one only follow”


If you got that, give yourself a huge ‘Well done!” If you didn’t get that much, don’t worry. Listen again. And write down the sounds.


We'll go into this deeper in the next post.

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