Techniques to Improve Your English Listening Skills

Tips and Techniques to Improve Your English Listening Skills

FastInfo logoBy FastInfo Class Published On 22 Aug 2023 Updated On 11 Jan 2024 Category Spoken English Techniques

Wondering! How can you enhance your English listening skills? If you really want to improve your English listening skills quickly, you must use the strategy that is most effective for you. Some people study best in a classroom, while others prefer to practise alone. The ability to understand spoken English language contributes to successful interactions in various contexts, from casual conversations to professional presentations.

Through this blog we'll explore a range of techniques and tips that can help you become a better English listener.

Why Listening Skills are Related to Speaking English Properly?

Good Listening skills in English is closely related to speaking English because they are both essential parts of the communication process. When you listen to someone speak, you are not only understanding the words they are saying, but you are also picking up on their tone, rhythm, and pronunciation. The relationship between these two skills is symbiotic, as each skill reinforces and complements the other in your language development and communication.

Here are some specific ways to show you how listening skills help you to speak English properly.

  • Learn new vocabulary and grammar:

When you listen to English speakers, you are exposed to new words and grammatical structures that you may not have encountered before. By paying attention to how these words and structures are used, you can learn them more easily and use them correctly in your own speech.

  • Develop your pronunciation:

By listening to native English speakers, you can learn how to pronounce words correctly. You can also learn to distinguish between different sounds that may be difficult for you to hear.

  • Improve your fluency:

When you listen to English speakers, you can hear how they naturally string words together to form sentences. This can help you to improve your fluency and speak English more smoothly.

  • Understand different accents:

English is spoken with many different accents around the world. By listening to a variety of accents, you can learn to understand them better and adapt your own speech to be more easily understood.

  • Contextual understanding:

Listening provides context that aids in understanding the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences. This context-awareness helps you use words accurately and appropriately while speaking.

Can We Really Improve English by Listening?

Yes, you can improve your English by listening. Listening is a passive skill, but it is essential for developing your active skills, such as speaking, reading and writing. When you listen to English, you are exposed to the sounds of the language, the grammar, and the vocabulary. The more you listen, the more familiar you will become with the language and the easier it will be for you to understand and speak English fluently.

And let me tell you one thing, it's not just a classroom thing. It's not just about passively hearing words; it's about mastering the art of effective listening. Surprisingly, very few of us have unlocked this skill. Not because it's rocket science, but because we never really picked up the habits that make us exceptional listeners. Developing this skill provides valuable feedback, corrects mistakes, boosts motivation, and increases confidence in using the language. Whether in a classroom, one-on-one class with a language teacher, or self learning at home, tailor your English listening practice to your preference.

Why You Still Struggle With Your English Listening?

There are numerous factors that stop you from improving your listening abilities. It is important to be aware of the common listening challenges, so that we can take steps to overcome them. By being mindful of these barriers, we can improve our listening skills and communicate more effectively with others. By following these tips, you can improve your listening skills and communicate more effectively with others.

  1. Vocabulary Gap: One of major barrier is a lack of vocabulary. Sometimes, there are a number of English words that you cannot fully understand. If the number of unfamiliar words is excessive, it may be difficult for you to understand the message. Encountering unfamiliar words can impede comprehension. Expand your vocabulary by reading and listening to a wide range of materials.
  2. Accents and Dialects: When we are communicating with someone whose English accents and dialects are different, it can be difficult to understand what they are saying. This can lead to misunderstandings and can make it difficult to listen effectively. Expose yourself to different accents through media and conversations, allowing your ear to adapt.
  3. Background Noise: Listening in noisy environments can be challenging. To overcome this, practice listening in various settings, gradually increasing the complexity of the auditory environment.
  4. Physiological barriers: These barriers can include things like hearing loss, fatigue, or illness. When we are not feeling well, it can be difficult to concentrate and listen effectively.
  5. Making assumptions: When we make assumptions about what the speaker is going to say, we are not really listening. We are just waiting for our turn to talk.
  6. Distractions: Anything that takes our attention away from the speaker can be a barrier to listening. This includes things like our own thoughts, other people talking, or even the environment around us.

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Why You Can’t Understand Native English Speakers properly?

Understanding native English speakers can be challenging for a non native speakers due to a variety of factors. One major aspect is the diversity of accents and regional dialects within the English language, making it difficult for non-native speakers to grasp the intricacies of regional speech patterns. Additionally, the speed at which native speakers communicate may create hurdles for non native speakers. Native speakers often use colloquialisms, idioms, and cultural references that may be unfamiliar to someone from a different background. Limited exposure to real-life conversational English during language learning can contribute to difficulties in understanding the subtle nuances of pronunciation and informal expressions. Overcoming these obstacles often requires consistent practice, exposure to different accents, and a willingness to adapt to the dynamic nature of the language as it is spoken in various regions and contexts.

Remember, communication is a two-way street. By being patient, respectful, and willing to learn from each other we can all improve our understanding of each other. If you're specifically interested in improving your own understanding of native English speakers, you can follow and practice below mentioned tips to upskill your listening ability for better two way conversations.

How to Improve Your English Listening Skills Easily?

You can develop your English listening skills by following useful tips in this blog.

  • Listen to an English podcast

Choose one episode from a podcast that you find fascinating or entertaining. Spend a week listening to that episode every day while doing things like driving, taking the bus, doing the dishes, etc. On the first and second days, identify any words or phrases that are challenging for you to understand and look them up. Remember to pause the audio, then play it again to hear the difficult words.

You ought to be able to hear these words and comprehend them after a few days. It might also be beneficial to learn specific podcast segments by heart and practise repeating them. Look for the ways that you and the speaker are different.

You'll find that by the final day, you can comprehend a lot more than you could on the first day.

  • Listen to English conversations

Spend an afternoon looking for an English conversation if you live somewhere where English is spoken. Slow down and pay attention when you begin to hear English. Since you'll probably start listening in the middle of the conversation, you won't first understand what they're talking about. This will increase the difficulty of understanding while also increasing its enjoyment.

One of the finest methods to learn English is to hear it spoken. You will gain a better understanding of vocabulary words, grammar rules, and even regularly used slang.

As you listen, keep an eye out for any unfamiliar words and try to make out the topic of the conversation.

  • Read and listen at the same time

Utilising two sources of information simultaneously is an extra strategy for boosting your listening abilities.

This simply implies that you should be learning English simultaneously from a different source in addition to listening.

Watching a video with English subtitles in English is the simplest way to accomplish this. You will be reading and listening to the words in this manner, which will make it simpler for you to comprehend everything and will aid in your memory retention.

  • Try different accents

Do you find American films to be simpler to understand than British ones? The opposite could be true, though.

Some English accents may be difficult to comprehend the first few times you hear them. This is a common fact. Different English accents can be difficult to comprehend, even for native English speakers.

However, all English dialects or accents are lovely, and if you simply keep listening, you can understand any of them. 

Always remember when you practice, you become perfect. All you need to do is maintain honing your listening skills with audio from that accent if you believe it will be more challenging for you to grasp a particular English accent.

For instance, if you find it difficult to understand American English, try watching American television shows or listening to American podcasts or the news for a month. Your ears will be familiar with the accent by the end of these 30 days, making it much simpler for you to comprehend.

  • Repetition and Rephrasing Exercises

Listen to the chosen audio source without any interruptions. Focus on understanding the general context and main ideas. After the initial listening, take notes on key points, unfamiliar words, and phrases that stood out to you. Now, Listen to the same audio source again. This time, pay attention to the details of that parts which were unclear during the first listening. After the second listening, summarize the main ideas of the audio in your own words. Repetation of this exercise helps to reinforce your understanding and retention.

Pick a short segment (1-2 minutes) of an audio source with clear speech. Listen to the segment again and again. Transcribe it as accurately as possible. Then, take each sentence and rephrase it in your own words. Compare your rephrased sentences with the original transcript. Pay attention to differences in vocabulary, sentence structure, and overall meaning. Try to improve your accuracy and the fluency of your rephrased sentences.

Tailor these exercises to your proficiency level and gradually challenge yourself with more complex audio materials. Regular practice will help you become a more adept listener in English.

  • Join a conversation group

You're prepared to use your new listening abilities after you've had enough practice. Yet how?

Joining a group of English learners who host a chat group is a terrific way to start. Conversation groups normally meet on a regular basis, although they are not classes. You are not required to attend every week; the goal is merely to interact (speak) in English.

If you're afraid about speaking English, remind yourself that you'll be listening—which is just OK. You can even inform the other speakers if you believe it will be strange to sit quietly. You may say anything along the lines of: 

Hello, my name is Saayera. Today, I'm going to concentrate on listening, so I might not speak much!

  • Record class activities

If you’re learning in spoken English class and have difficulty comprehending English words, record every word in your classes. You can listen to the lecture again later to catch any words you missed the first time. These recordings will also assist you in becoming acquainted with the sound of your teacher and classmates as they speak.

  • Make a list of words you hear often

Make a list of the words you hear the most in class using a recording. Then, bring this list to class and listen for the words on it. When you hear a word in your list, mark it or note it in your pocket diary. 

You can also include words that you believe you will hear in class when compiling your list. Add some English words for travel to your list, for example, if you're starting a unit on travelling.

Take note of the context or the way the words are utilised in phrases. This active listening practice will assist you in comprehending when and why specific words are used. Once you're familiar with the words you hear frequently, you can concentrate on the items on your list with fewer checkmarks.

Follow These Amazing Websites to Improve Your Listening Skills

Here are some amazing websites to follow that can help you improve your listening skills. But these are just a few of the many websites that can help you improve your listening skills in English. The best way to find the right website for you is to experiment and see what works best for you.

1. Websites for Podcast Enthusiasts

- Podcasts.com
- Spotify Podcasts
- Apple Podcasts
Podcasts offer a diverse array of topics and voices, making them an excellent platform for enhancing listening skills. Websites like Podcasts.com, Spotify Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts provide a wide range of podcasts to choose from.

2. Interactive Learning with TED Talks

TED Talks feature engaging speakers discussing a plethora of subjects. These TED talks provide not only insights but also an opportunity to focus on understanding various accents and speaking styles.

3. Language Learning Platforms for Enhanced Listening

- Duolingo
- Rosetta Stone
- Babbel
Language learning platforms like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Babbel incorporate listening exercises to improve both linguistic comprehension and pronunciation.

4. Audiobooks: Literary Entertainment and Listening Practice

- Audible
- LibriVox
Audiobooks, available on platforms such as Audible and LibriVox, combine storytelling with listening practice, offering an enjoyable way to develop your skills.

5. News and Current Affairs Listening Resources

- NPR (National Public Radio)
- BBC World Service
Listening to news and current affairs from reputable sources like NPR and BBC World Service not only keeps you informed but also exposes you to diverse linguistic styles.

6. Educational YouTube Channels with Strong Narration

- CrashCourse
- Khan Academy
YouTube channels like CrashCourse and Khan Academy present educational content with clear narration, aiding comprehension and knowledge retention. Also, there are many YouTube channels that offer listening exercises for English learners. Some of the most popular channels include: Easy English Listening, English Listening Club, Coffee Break English, BBC Learning English etc.

7. Virtual Conversation Exchanges

- Tandem
- HelloTalk
Platforms like Tandem and HelloTalk facilitate language exchange with native speakers, providing practical listening practice.

8. Enhancing Listening Skills through Music

- SoundCloud
- 8tracks
Music platforms like SoundCloud and 8tracks offer an opportunity to focus on lyrics and melodies, enhancing your ability to catch specific words and phrases.

9. Listening Challenges and Quizzes

- Lyricstraining
- Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab
Websites such as Lyricstraining and Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab offer interactive challenges to test and improve your listening abilities.

10. Utilizing Language Exchange Communities

- Meetup
- ConversationExchange
Participating in language exchange events through platforms like Meetup and ConversationExchange provides real-world listening practice.

Conclusion

You should put in the effort to develop your English listening skills. Use the techniques mentioned above to boost your listening skills in English. If you don’t listen to the language well, then you can’t speak well. To understand any language, you must first listen to it. So, if you want to enhance your English listening abilities, join Spoken English course by FastInfo class, where you can learn varities of English learning skills ithin a few months and practice them with your co-learner.


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