The more you speak to people, the more they will speak back to you. Talking with other students is a great way of getting lots of extra listening practice.
It is important that you understand most of what you hear so that you can learn about your different subjects and at the same time improve your English. In order for you to become a better listener, look first at the following list. It contains many of the things that can make it hard for you to understand what you hear:
- the speaker talks too quickly
- the speaker talks too softly
- two or more people are speaking at the same time
- there is background noise
- there are other distractions
- the speaker or the topic is boring
- you are not concentrating on what the speaker is saying
- there are no pictures or charts to look at while listening
- you have no idea about the topic
- the speaker uses many new or difficult words
- the speaker’s sentences are long and complicated
- strong pronunciation
Any one of the above problems alone can make it difficult for you to understand. But very often you are faced with two or three of them together. For example, you may be in a lesson where the teacher is talking quickly and in complicated English about a topic you know nothing about. Then your chances of understanding will be small.
However, there are quite a few things you can do to improve your comprehension of what you hear. These are listed below:
- ask the speaker to repeat or rephrase what they said
- pay attention
- block out distractions
- look at the speaker
- ask questions
- try to picture and make connections
- think about and answer silently all the questions asked by the English teacher
- listen to the other students
- keep listening even if you don’t understand at first
- listen for the teacher’s clues
- ask someone after the lesson to explain what you didn’t understand
- try to find out something about the topic before the lesson
- most importantly be confident
If you do all these things, it will help you to become a better listener in class. But you can practice your listening understanding outside of the classroom, too.
Watching English language TV or videos is a great way to improve your listening skills because what you see can help you understand what you hear. Even better is to watch DVDs with the English subtitles turned on.
Working on increasing your vocabulary will also help you to become a better listener.
Finally, remember this, the more you speak to people, the more they will speak back to you. Talking with other students, for example, during English Speaking Club is a great way of getting lots of extra listening practice!
We will be happy to help you!