When you are learning a language, you will acquire a range of skills, including listening, speaking, reading and writing in your new dialect. Listening skills are particularly important as you will rely on this ability to understand and interpret what someone is saying.
At ABC School, we know just how important listening skills are, which is why we incorporate this heavily into our courses. However, there are many ways you can enhance your listening skills outside the classroom too. To get started, take a look at these top tips and find out how to increase English listening skills now:
1. Practise Active Listening
Listening can be either passive or active but, when you are learning a language, it is important to listen actively. Passive listening allows you absorb some information, but you are not really focused on the noises you are hearing. When you have a radio on in the background but you are talking to a friend at the same time, for example, you are passively hearing the music but not necessarily paying attention to the lyrics.
In contrast, active listening means you are really focusing on the noise and interpreting what you are hearing. When you listen in this way, you are paying close attention to the sounds and instructing your brain to remember them. Not only does this help you to understand what you are hearing more effectively, but it also helps you to retain the information.
2. Watch Movies and TV Shows in English
If you want to know how to practise listening skills in English, you will be glad to know that you can do just that while watching movies and TV shows! In fact, this is a great way to enhance your skills because you can slow frames down and use subtitles when you need to. Similarly, you can replay a scene as many times as you need to until you are able to hear the words clearly and understand them.
However, you do not have to stop there. Audiobooks and podcasts also give you the opportunity improve your English listening skills and allow you to adjust the speed so that you can make sense of the words you are hearing. When you combine learning English with other subjects and genres you are interested in, it can make the process even more fun and enjoyable.
3. Repeat What You Hear
When you are listening to someone speaking, repeat what you hear out loud. This helps you to process the information and also increases the likelihood that you will remember it in the future. Essentially, you are telling your brain that what you are hearing and saying is important information!
Of course, repeating what you hear out loud is an ideal task if you want to know how to improve English speaking and listening skills. As well as enhancing your ability to understand the spoken language, you will also hone your speaking and pronunciation abilities too.
4. Practise with Different Accents
It is estimated that there are around 40 different dialects throughout the UK, which means you will encounter a variety of different accents when speaking to people in English. As some of these accents sound very different from one another, it is important to practise your listening skills using different dialects.
You can do this by choosing to watch or listen to TV shows set in different parts of the UK or by listening to podcasts hosted by people from all over the country. Similarly, you will find plenty of online audio recordings that explain how words are pronounced differently throughout the UK, depending on which accent a person has.
5. Check Your Interpretation
Many people find reading skills easier to develop than listening skills. If you fall into this category, you can check your listening skills by reading matching text afterwards. Watch a movie scene without the captions before replaying it with the subtitles added and see how much you understood, for example. Similarly, listen to a small section of an audiobook before reading the print version to check how much you picked up via just the audio.
Learn How to Improve English Speaking and Listening Skills
Although you can enhance your listening skills from day-to-day, a classroom setting is a great environment to improve your English listening skills. You will be able to hear your teacher speaking native English and listen to your classmates as they perfect their pronunciation alongside you. Furthermore, you can ask for clarification at any time or ask your teacher to repeat words and sentences until you are familiar with them.
By incorporating the Callan Method into many of our courses, including our Intensive English programme, we make it easy for students to enhance their English speaking and listening skills. To find out more or to get started, book your place on an English course now or contact ABC School today.