6 Tips to Improve Your Listening and Speaking Skills
- February 4, 2019
- Posted by: E-planet Educational Services
- Category: Uncategorized
Listening to a foreign language is often quite challenging and demanding. That’s why the majority of students find listening to be the most difficult language learning skill. Do you feel the same way? You are not alone!
But what can you do to overcome this difficulty? Should you read a text while you are listening to it or not? What type of audio should you choose? Do you need to translate every single word? And how can you be sure that you are developing your skills in the right way? We’ve got you covered; time to be all ears! Here is your new ‘listening manifesto’!
- Say ‘Yes’ to Active Listening
Passive listening, i.e. listening to something without giving it your full attention, will not help you much. For example, you may listen to English songs while cooking, doing the dishes or eating without really paying attention to the lyrics. That’s not bad; you can still pick some things up every now and then, when a particular word or phrase catches your attention. But unless you actually focus on what you’re listening to, most of it goes in one ear and out the other!
- Listen to Native Speakers
Native speakers often ‘connect’ and ‘link’ words together when they speak. For example, in American English, the phrase ‘what’s up?’ often sounds like ‘wassup?’. This practice isn’t unique to English speakers; French learners might recognise this as a ‘liaison’. That’s why sometimes you may know a word but will not recognise it when you hear it; many words sound different when pronounced by native speakers! So… learning new words but never hearing them isn’t sufficient when it comes to real-life conversation. Studying pronunciation and listening go hand in hand if you want to avoid feeling lost in the flow of any dialogue.
- Use the Right Tools
Binge-watching interesting YouTube channels and popular TV shows, enjoying scenes from a film (with or without subtitles), listening to a podcast episode you have a transcript for… these are great ways to develop the feeling of a language and to improve your accent along the way. Start with material you easily understand, and then as you make progress, gradually increase the difficulty of your audio choices. Accept the fact that you are not going to understand everything; it’s not necessary to do so in order to get the gist of the meaning. In fact, learning to do that is a key skill!
An extra piece of advice: If you are a beginner, watch films that you’ve already seen in your mother tongue; already knowing the plot will help tremendously!
Make a conscious effort to speak more often. You don’t have to sound perfect! Speaking in a one-on-one situation forces you to concentrate. Interactive listening is best; in other words, it’s better to talk with someone in a two-way conversation, rather than to just listen to a recorded TV show. Try to chat with native speakers as they are the ones who can easily correct your mistakes.
An extra piece of advice: Native speakers talk super-fast! When conversing with them, politely ask them to slow down.
- Speak & Record Yourself
You can record yourself speaking English using your computer or phone. This may sound funny, but it can actually help you improve your skills. Continue to do this until you feel happy with the results.
- Be Patient
Listening and speaking skills, like all good things, take time to develop. You simply cannot improve at lightning speed – nobody can! There are no magic methods that offer maximum results with minimum effort. You will gradually understand hard and complex native-level materials as you improve at the appropriate pace – without getting disappointed or frustrated! Every day, with each extra repetition, your comfort level will grow.
So… what do you think? Are there any new techniques you’ve never tried? In what other ways do you work on your listening comprehension? Let us know in the comments section below; this way everyone can benefit from your ideas!
If you liked this article, you might also like to read ‘5 Tips to Study More Effectively’. And if you enjoyed this post, please give it a quick share on Facebook or your other favourite social media!