This is a common question English learners have: how can I improve my listening skills? I want to understand people in English, understand movies in English, understand TV series in English, so how can I do it?
In this post, I want to talk to you about 3 important elements you need to consider if you want to improve your listening skills.
What is that supposed to mean? Forget about listening to one-hour long podcasts, or watch TV series like crazy to improve your listening in English.
Unfortunately, many methods in the market, tell students to focus a lot on listening to materials in English and passive learning. As a result, many English learners try listening to long audios and end up not understanding most of the information they hear.
This is the moment to improve, not to bring yourself down. Listening to extremely long materials may make you feel like you don’t understand anything when in reality, our attention span is very short and we tend to miss a lot of information in long audios/videos
If you are busy person, how many times can you actually repeat a 40-minute audio? Moreover, It is hard to explore vocabulary and expressions from a 40 or 60 minute content.
If you are truly trying to improve your listening, a 3-minute audio will be much more productive than a long one. Of course you will need to do the right kind of exercise. But it is definitely a better length.
Do you wanna understand native speakers and your favorite movies and shows? Start watching short contents about a variety of subjects.
A few weeks ago, I watched a video in English about a rare type of birds that fly all the way from Delaware US to Brazil in specific times of the year to protect themselves from hurricane seasons. (veery birds)
I am not saying you should google birds and study them! What I am trying to say is: get out of your comfort zone and try to find challenging and interesting subjects for you to learn more about.
If you keep listening and not testing your knowledge or exploring new words and sentences from what you listen, your listening will not improve. This is what many students do. They listen and listen, they keep watching tv series and not doing anything about the information they hear. This is why the longer the audio you listen to, the more difficult it gets for you to use that material to practice your listening comprehension. Listening comprehension is not simply about listening. It is about what you do after the audio is over.
When doing your listening practice, focus on that. Take notes, repeat, pause, engage with the content. This is not the time for you to multitask.
I have a suggestion for you. Find something short you can watch in English (2 to 3 minutes). Then, take notes, check the vocabulary and after that, practice describing what you understood from that audio/video. This is how you can start putting into practice the 3 elements I have shared with you in this post.
Also, if you prefer, I have a video talking about this subject. Check it out below
I hope you find this post helpful