Apart from reading, writing and speaking, listening is also one of the most important skills that you need to master if you want to be good at the English language. There are however several learners who struggle with listening skills. There might be many reasons why learners find it difficult to understand English. It might be because the speaker is speaking too fast or they are speaking in an accent which is unfamiliar to the listener or they might be using certain slang words that the learner does not understand. At times it can be really difficult to understand what the other person is saying. It is therefore very important to master listening skills.
Why Is Listening Difficult?
It is said that in comparison to reading, listening is much more difficult to master. To understand the recordings and speech, just having a large vocabulary and good English pronunciation skills is not enough. If you have never heard a native English speaker before, understanding them can be quite difficult even if your English proficiency level is very high. Pursuing an online spoken English course will help you improve your English listening skills.
There are several words in English that are not pronounced as per their spelling. If you come across such words in texts and do not understand them, you will never be able to understand those words when you are listening to someone. That does not however mean that you are doomed to struggle. If you take the right steps, you are surely going to improve your listening skills.
How to Improve Your English Listening Skills ?
To improve your English listening skills, you can follow the steps mentioned below:
Just as your muscles need regular exercise to stay fit, similarly your ears need regular listening so that they become sharper. Even if you listen to a bit of English every day, you will be able to progress fast. You are able to practise better if you join online English speaking classes.
Do Not Miss An Opportunity to Listen
When you learn new words, you must check the pronunciation in the online dictionary. You can also listen to podcasts for English learners, audiobooks, radio etc. You might watch English videos on Youtube as well.
Listen to The English of Varied Speakers
If you listen to one speaker, the English teacher or the presenter of your favourite podcast, you will get used to how they speak. So, it will be a good idea to start listening to the other speakers as well, especially the ones who have a heavy accent or those who speak very fast. It is therefore not a good idea to limit your resources. You should listen to different speakers.
You need to pay attention to the words and phrases, the intonation and the accent of the speaker. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted.
Write What You Hear
This is a strategy that is quite simple, effective and also highly practical. You need to follow these steps:
- You first have to choose a 30-second section of a video or a podcast. You need to listen to that section a couple of times. Do not write anything at this time.This is a step where you will simply have to familiarise yourself with the topic and the accent of the speaker and the pace and the tone of the voice.
- Now, you have to listen to the sentence, pause the video and write what you heard.
- Repeat this exercise till the time the 30-second video is completed.
- If there are certain sounds that you do not recognize, leave a blank space there.
- Rewind the video and listen again.
- Once you reach the end, you need to listen to the 30-second video again and try filling in the gaps. Try looking at the words that are around the gap. Try to see if you can fill in the gap.
The biggest advantage of this method is that this tip allows you to find out exactly what you do not hear. In other words, this highlights the gaps in your listening ability. It tells you which words or expressions you should learn and recognize more instinctively.
Watch Out The Subtitles
Watching a video in a foreign language without a sub title is quite a difficult task. This can, however, be a great way that will allow you to practise and strengthen your listening skills. You need not however worry because you do not have to continue doing this throughout the movie. The idea here is to start small. Each time you sit down to watch a movie, you need to turn off the subtitles for the first minute only. This means that you will have to train your active listening skills for one minute before you can start enjoying the movie. After that, you need to pause the movie for one minute and write down a quick summary of what you have heard. Now, go back to the start of the movie, turn on the subtitles and read them to understand if what you have written and understood is correct. This is a wonderful habit if you love watching a TV series. You will be able to do it better if you are familiar with the accents, the storyline and the actors.
Irrespective of whether you are trying to learn a language or for that matter any other skill, there is no magic solution to it. You just need to practise active listening and improve your listening skills. This way, you will be able to make significant improvements much faster than you might have imagined.