Sometimes, my students make me laugh.
Not long ago, I was teaching a TOEFL preparation class, and I asked my students to listen to a lecture and take notes.
I pressed PLAY on the CD player…and immediately they all began writing so quickly, I couldn’t see their hands! Their pens moved so fast, they began fanning the room!
I stopped the activity. “No! No! No!” I cried. “Don’t try to write down EVERY word!” They all looked up, confused.
Then I told them what I am going to tell you now:
The key to good note-taking isn’t writing MORE notes, it’s writing more EFFECTIVE notes.
Why do people have TWO ears, but only ONE mouth? Because listening is twice as hard as speaking!
Understanding spoken English can be difficult, especially if the speaker is talking very fast. Problems include:
- Feeling frustrated because you do not understand every word
- Only understanding people when they speak slowly
- Finding it hard to keep up with all the information
- Getting tired during long listening
Like all skills, listening takes practice. The following SIX tips will help you improve your listening skills.
Listening is supposed to be easy, isn’t it? Actually, it’s not. Hearing’s easy; listening is waaaayyyyy more difficult.
First off, it’s exhausting! Until you are an advanced student – and sometimes not even then – the effort to listen can be very tiring. You have to concentrate very hard. After awhile, it becomes easy to shut off your mind. And this is not useful…or polite to the person who’s talking.
Fear not! You can train yourself to listen more productively. You can learn to focus.
Think of how you learned your native language. You listened for a long time before you ever began to speak. Reading and writing came much later.
Of all the skills, listening is the skill that helps you develop fluency: the ability to speak naturally. But just as you learned your native language, you need to listen a lot more than you speak. The sooner you get into the habit of listening to English, the faster you will develop your skills.
There are thousands of websites that will help you build your English listening skills. But how do you know which sites are good? And do you know how to use them?
The websites below are all excellent quality and will help you improve. We’ve included some notes to help you use these sites effectively. Happy listening!