Hello, my name is Caroline, I’m doing an internship at RoLa Languages and currently studying English. It’s extremely necessary to be able to understand what you hear so you can communicate with others. On that thread, I’m here to share some tips about how to improve your listening skills in English.
Listening can be a little tricky because when you study a new language, you tend to translate what you heard to your native language and I can guarantee that this is not the best option. This may be necessary at first, but when you start to feel comfortable and secure in your abilities, you will feel more confident and stop translating words.
Here are some ways that you can improve your listening skills:
1. Watch movies in English with subtitles in English
When you watch movies, you can associate what they are talking about with the scenes you see. By paying attention to not only the words, but the pronunciation and the context, you can connect the information faster and start to get used to the new words and the expressions.
2. Watch lectures about your interests
You can watch some lectures on YouTube with the subtitles in English. When you listen to lectures about things that you are interested in, you feel more comfortable and confident about what you are listening to, but it’s always important to pay attention to the words that you are hearing and try to visualize the actions being described, this way you can start understanding about the contexts and the meaning of the words. Here are a few websites that are interesting and very good to improve your English skills:
- Talks at Google: https://www.youtube.com/profile?user=AtGoogleTalks
- TED Talks: https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector
3. Listen to podcasts
It’s important to start listening to actual conversations, and this option is very helpful to start doing because it’s real -life English speakers talking. Two useful podcasts for this task are "Listen to English – Learn English" and the "VoANews Special English." They use clear and easy vocabulary making it fun and interesting to listen.
4. Cross-train multiple skills at once
It’s always good to practice your reading and listening at the same time, similar to the first tip. When you read at the same time as you listen, your brain gets used to the words and grammar and will help you to identify the connection between the words that you heard and what you read.
5. Speak with native speakers
If you want to practice your speaking and listening skills, the internet is a good resource to connect with native speakers. There’re a few sites that offer the opportunity to learn English with a native speaker (including at RoLa!), and this way you can practice, expand your knowledge, and meet new people! Here are a few sites where you can practice: