One of the most desirable skills in the learning of a new language is the ability to speak the language fluently, and to do that you need to work on your speaking and listening skills. However, this is easier said than done. Many language learners complain that no matter how much they listen, they just can’t seem to improve.
This is because listening is a passive skill. You do not control how fast people speak or what they say, but what you can do is control how you process the information. You ought to try to actively listen for details or just listen for gist. If you listen for detail, it is better to do it with short audios that can be repeated. When we listen for gist, you should listen to native level audios like podcasts or TV.
To improve your listening comprehension, you need to understand that speaking and listening cannot be separated in the learning of a language because if you are unable to listen and understand with ease, your speaking will suffer. Also, speaking is enhanced through listening to a language as you can learn in a natural way and internalise language. Learning how to listen and understand a language is a time-consuming task and it is difficult to do effectively. The keys to doing it well is to listen frequently and focus on high frequency language at the beginning, for this reason we have included example audios and dialogues in all of our lessons (TRY A DEMO HERE on making a profile).
A great way to not get lost in the immensity of a foreign language is to take it step by step and prioritise the language that you will need most frequently.
language learners should think of our site as a 3 step process; take the 15-minute lessons, listen to the example audios and then practice the questions in the conversation group.
We want to express the importance of learning a language in a communicative way and through collaboration. It is essential to learn a language this way as it will put your theory into practice in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
Our language learning community is full of people just like you who want to speak a foreign language with you today. Through collaboration everyone can learn a language in no time, you just need the opportunity to do it.
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There are different ways of practising listening skills.
What students need to understand is that the improvement of listening skills cannot be done overnight. It is a fairly long process and can take months and not days. The important thing is to not lose motivation and to begin immediately. It is really important to use two forms of listening, INTENSIVE and EXTENSIVE listening.
This is all about analysing the language. It can be very time consuming and often boring. What students need to do is break the text down to understand every word, phrase, sentence, expression and grammar structure, to make sure they fully understand the text.
Ideally, this should be done with audios when you also have the transcript available, if not it can be hard to understand everything. You should try to find interesting texts with lots of useful and commonly used vocabulary, like news articles or blog posts. See www.appf.es, esl-lab or listenaminute for this. The texts should also be quite short (1-3 minutes) or it will take a long time.
This technique is all about general listening and getting the general meaning of audios. This in the language learning field is known as listening for gist. If you can understand the main features of a text, there is no need for more. Focus on the what, who, where and when.
You should use various forms of media to do this, such as series, movies (ones you have already seen), songs and podcasts. Preferably about high frequency topics and people with different accents; I would suggest the podcasts like Coffee Break Languages or communicative language courses like ours.
Students should listen in these ways:
- Listen to English songs with the lyrics
- Watch TV with English subtitles
- Listen to podcasts
- Do example exams
- Speaking with both native speakers and other language learners
The final thing to mention is the need for repetition. In exams you can normally only listen to audios twice, but at home you should get used to listening to things multiple times. It doesn’t matter if you need to listen 5, 6, 7 or even 8 times to a text, it is all good practice.
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My advice would be to always listen again to an audio after you do an exercise. When you have the answers, you should listen to it again to see where the answers are. Focus on the intonation and the way they emphasise the answers.