How-To For Improving Listening in Language Learning

Listen! I want to tell you a secret...

This post was written by Rosa

So, you want to learn English and you want to know what you need to do to achieve your goal as soon as possible? 

“Learning a second language is just like learning any other skill”

*Targeted guided practice will be more effective, but as long as you’re using reliable resources (for example: BBC or British Council) then, any daily practice, no matter how short, will be beneficial.

It’s true that some people have a talent for learning languages and for those people it will be easier to acquire language learning skills, but no matter how talented you are, no progress will be made without practice. 
Think of it like learning to play a musical instrument. When you start playing a new musical instrument your music teacher will tell you that it’s important to practice a little (between 10 and 20 minutes) every day.  
At first, it’s hard to focus on learning something new for too long. Our brains and bodies become tired. And after just a few minutes we lose focus and concentration. However; over the course of a few weeks and with daily practice we build up stamina, get pleasure from seeing the progress we make and our newly acquired skills motivate us to continue. At this point we can increase the length of our practice sessions. 
If you’re right at the very beginning of your English language learning journey, then the first thing you need to do is listen. At this point you’re not listening for understanding nor for communication. You’re listening to become familiar with the individual sounds (phonemes) that make up the English language. You’re listening to learn the melody, rhythm and intonation of English.

“No progress will be made without practice”

There will even be some English sounds that you won’t be able to hear at first because they are unfamiliar to your brain, the more you listen to English the more your brain will be able to identify these unfamiliar sounds. The aim is that when you then start to practice speaking, you’ll be able to begin replicating these new sounds and identify which sounds need more practice. 
Even if you have several months or even years of English language learning under your belt listening is an important skill to keep practicing. The more you consciously listen to the sounds of English the more you can refine your English pronunciation.

Listening to a diverse range of authentic English content (blogs, videos, podcasts, news items, dramas, films etc.) will add richer and more varied vocabulary and constructions to your growing internal English dictionary. And listening to the huge variety of native English accents will broaden your brain’s English language schema and challenge your decoding skills. 

So, the secret…

Practice listening often.

Here are some other online resources that you could use to practice listening:

Ororo TV

Language Reactor


The secret of learning a new language is....practice!
The secret of learning a new language is....practice!

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