Are you looking for different ways to improve your listening skills?
“How do I improve my listening skill?” is a question that students would ask themselves when they can’t understand what the other person said. I remember the days when I was still trying to understand how the English language works, I used to listen to songs that I don’t even understand and try to copy the pronunciation accurately. It was hard work but I managed to understand words correctly without ever forgetting how they sound and what they mean. I love listening to music, that’s probably why I was able to learn new words every day.
I didn’t really care much what the words meant but I had fun while listening to new songs every day. I also love singing even though I’m not really good at it. Singing along made me conscious about how I pronounce words, it was a bit awkward at first because I couldn’t match the sounds of the word that I’m trying to copy but after some years, I was able to improve my listening skills. Here are some of my tips.
1. Make a daily listening schedule.
Plan your daily schedule, for example, spending 30 minutes in the morning after breakfast or 30 minutes after lunch, 30 minutes before going to bed. Aim for an achievable amount of time which you can devote every day to listen to something in English. Use YouTube and find audiobooks that you can listen to while you’re doing something to boost your listening skills. You can do this while cooking, cleaning or even while taking a long relaxing bath! This is one way to put words in your mind so the next time you hear it you’re most likely to understand what that word means. Stick to your schedule and don’t be lazy.
2. Don’t just follow the traditional listening method. TRY SOMETHING ELSE!
Everything helps, but you would be more motivated if you listen to something that you’d find interesting or something that you’d enjoy. If you like watching movies, be it old or new, then that’s fine. This changes if you’re practicing for a test. Try to find materials on YouTube that are similar to the test that you are preparing for, be it IELTS, TOEIC or ESL. Formal listening materials are better in this case. Try podcasts, ED Ted, or even Local/International news.
3. Listen to stories or articles that interest you!
Find something that you can easily understand or something that you already have knowledge about. Focus on listening to the material and ask yourself questions just to check if you really understand what it is about. One good website is called ED TED. The website has lots of things to listen to, be it about health or zombies or whatever! They also have a short discussion at the end of the video so viewers get to see what the others are talking about. You can participate if you make an account. The only downside to this website is that some presenters talk too fast but don’t let that get you down, try to challenge yourself and see how much you can understand. It won’t be difficult once you get the hang of it so don’t worry and just jump into it.
4. Listen and repeat！
This might sound repetitive but don’t worry, repetition is something that will help you memorize a word or even adjust how you pronounce a word. Repeating every word you hear might trick your brain into memorizing your target word. You can do this while listening to a song about 5-10 times every day. There will be two results, you’d memorize the song and you’d also be able to sing the song accurately. You don’t have to understand what the song means since that’s not your goal. Focus on the pronunciation and how the word is pronounced, copy it and just sing along. Who knows? You might get a perfect song next time you sing it at a karaoke bar!
Extra stuff to consider.
Real-life experience is still better than studying by yourself, try to immerse yourself in English. Listen to English news, listen to English songs wherever you go, just focus on your goal. You either listen for the sake of listening or listen to understand what the other person is saying. Practice constantly and try not to be lazy.
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