5 Steps to Improve Your English Listening – How to Improve Your English Listening
- Articles, Blog

5 Steps to Improve Your English Listening – How to Improve Your English Listening


Hi, I’m Kasia. Welcome to Oxford Online English. In this lesson, you’re going to learn how
you can improve your English listening. You’ll see simple, effective tips that anyone
can use to improve their English listening skills. We’ll also give you a practical, easy-to-follow
study plan to help you improve your English listening fast. But first, let’s start with some questions. I’m going to ask you about four different
situations where you would hear spoken English. You should think about whether understanding
spoken English would be easy or difficult for you. OK? First, you’re listening to an English teacher,
speaking British English, speaking slowly and clearly. Easy or difficult? Next, you’re listening to a native English
speaker from Scotland, who speaks with a Scottish accent, and also uses a lot of slang and idiomatic
English. What do you think: would this be easy or difficult
for you? Next, you’re on a train. There are four non-native speakers from four
different countries talking to each other. They have different accents. Do you think you could understand their conversation? Would it depend on where they were from? Finally, you’re listening to a news show
on the radio or as a podcast. There are many different speakers, and of
course you can’t see them. They’re talking fast, using a lot of less
common vocabulary, and changing topics often. How would you find this? Probably, most of you think that the first
situation is the easiest, and the last situation is the hardest. However, a lot depends on you and your experiences. The big question is: what can you do in those
difficult situations? You’ve been studying English for years,
but you still can’t understand everything you hear. We get it—it’s frustrating! So, what can you do? Here’s a question: if you worry a lot about
your English listening, will it make your English listening better? No, of course not! Many English learners get very stressed and
anxious when they can’t understand something. This doesn’t help your English listening,
and it can even make it more difficult to understand spoken English. To understand a foreign language, you need
100% of your brain power. “Why can’t I understand this?” “What was that word he just used?” “They’re speaking too quickly!” If you’re worrying and thinking thoughts like
this, you aren’t concentrating on listening. You’re focusing on your own worries and
thoughts, and not on what you’re hearing. This makes it harder to understand, not easier! So, relax! If you understand, you understand. If you don’t, you don’t—it’s not the end
of the world! By relaxing and focusing 100% on what you’re
hearing, you have the best chance to understand. [Portuguese audio] That’s Portuguese, if
you didn’t know. I don’t know one word of Portuguese, so
I can’t understand anything she’s saying. Is that a problem? No. Am I worried or stressed? No. If I listen carefully, I can hear a few words
which sound a little familiar, so I could maybe guess the topic in a very general way. Take the same attitude when listening to English. If you don’t understand, there’s nothing
you can do about it. So, relax! Being relaxed and focused gives you the best
chance to understand what you hear. Remember: you need 100% of your brain power
to understand spoken English, or any foreign language. You know what takes a lot of brain power? Translating English into your language! So, you can’t do both. Professional interpreters, who translate spoken
language as they hear it, have a very difficult job. In fact, they can only work a few hours a
day because it requires so much concentration. If you listen to English and try to translate
into your language at the same time, you’re trying to be a professional interpreter, except
you haven’t had the years of training that they’ve had. Also, you’re not getting paid like they
are. Doesn’t sound like a good deal, right? Again, when you’re listening to spoken English,
just listen. Don’t do anything else. Don’t try to translate things. Don’t worry about words you don’t know. Don’t think about things you didn’t hear. Just listen. Want to know a simple secret about understanding
spoken English? You don’t have to understand what someone
said to understand what they mean. Wait, what? It’s true. Very often, I see English learners focusing
too much on the things they don’t understand. I hear things like, “There was a word I
didn’t know, so I couldn’t understand.” Here’s the thing: understanding doesn’t
just depend on listening. Very often, there are other things you can
use. For example, if you’re face to face with
someone, you can use their body language, tone of voice and facial expressions to help
you understand what they mean. Also, think about the situation you’re in. What is the other person likely to say? What words are they likely to use? For example, imagine you’re at the airport. You’re checking in for your flight. What questions might you expect to hear? You’d probably hear questions like: Did you pack these bags yourself? Have you already checked in online? Would you like an aisle seat or a window seat? Imagine you hear the last question, but you
don’t know what aisle means. Even if you’ve never heard the word before,
it shouldn’t stop you from understanding the question. You know that there are two choices, aisle
seat or window seat. You know what window seat means. You know that aisle seat must mean something
different from window seat. So, you can work it out. Similarly, imagine you hear this: Have you mbrmmnbsmgrm chicken online? Chicken? Did he say ‘chicken’? That doesn’t make sense… Right, it doesn’t make sense. So, probably the person behind the check-in
desk didn’t say ‘chicken’, he probably said ‘check-in’, because that’s what
you’re doing: you’re checking in for your flight. So, when you’re listening to spoken English,
use everything you can to help you understand. Don’t think: “I didn’t understand one
word, so I can’t understand anything.” It’s just not true! At the beginning of this lesson, we looked
at different situations where it might be easier or more difficult for you to understand
spoken English. Generally, if you’re familiar with something,
it’ll be easier to understand. For example, if you learn English from a teacher,
and your teacher is male and British, you’ll probably find male British voices easier to
understand. On the other hand, you might find female voices
slightly more difficult. You might find other accents, like American
voices or Australian voices, harder to understand. So, what’s the solution? Very simple: listen to as many different voices
as possible! Don’t limit yourself. If you only listen to one kind of English,
you’ll be good at understanding one kind of English. So, listen to different kinds of English. Listen to English people from the north, south,
east and west of the country. Listen to Scottish speakers, Welsh speakers,
and Irish speakers; listen to men, women and children; listen to Americans, Australians,
Canadians and South Africans. Listen to Indian, Chinese, Russian or Brazilian
English speakers. What’s that? You only want to listen to native English? Fine, but remember that more English is spoken
between non-native speakers in the world today, so it could be a very good use of your time
to listen to non-native English as well. It’s not just about listening to different
voices. You should listen to as many different formats
and sources as possible. So, listen to songs, TV shows, films, audiobooks,
textbook exercises, and anything else you can find. All of the advice in this lesson will help
you improve your English listening, but you also need a practical plan to work on your
English listening. Let’s make a plan together. Ready? It’s very simple: you just need to follow
two rules: Rule number 1. Do something every day. Rule number 2. Do something different every day. Easy, right? “But, but, I don’t have time!” You don’t need much time. If you have ten minutes a day, spend ten minutes
a day. Of course, more is better, but be realistic. Don’t say you’re going to spend an hour
a day on English listening practice unless you’re sure you will do it! A good target is 15-20 minutes a day. This is not too much, so it should be easy
to stick to. It’s also enough to get better and improve. What about the second rule? You need to do something different every day
so that you listen to different sources and different voices. If you do the same thing every day, you won’t
get enough variety. Here’s what your listening plan for one
week could look like: Monday: listen to 1-2 songs, 2-3 times each. Tuesday: listen to a podcast with American
voices. Wednesday: watch 15 minutes of a TV show from
the UK. Thursday: do a listening exercise from a textbook. Friday: watch 15 minutes of a news show
Saturday: watch 15 minutes of an old movie Sunday: call a friend and spend 15 minutes
speaking in English! This is just an example. Your plan might be different. That’s fine! Here are some questions you probably have: “Where do I get materials?” Easy, get on Google or the search engine of
your choice. There’s lots of stuff out there which is
free if you have an Internet connection. Yes, you have to work a little to find materials
that will suit you. That’s necessary, because you should choose
your own listening materials. “How do I choose something which is the
right level?” There’s a good rule here: the first time
you listen to something, you should be able to understand more than 50% and less than
90%. If you can’t understand half of what you
hear the first time you listen, then it’s too difficult. If you can understand more than 90% the first
time you listen, then it’s too easy. So, try to choose materials which are in this
range. “How do I stick to my plan and make sure
I don’t give up?” Make your plan at the start of the week. Write it down. Stick it somewhere in your home, for example
on the wall, or on your fridge. Think about what time of day you should do
your English practice. Are you better in the mornings or in the evenings? Try to do your listening practice when your
brain is at its best! Then, when you do your listening practice
each day, cross it off your plan. That way, you’ll see what you’re doing
every day. You won’t want to miss a day! If you have good ideas for things to listen
to in English, please share your suggestions with other English learners in the video comments. Did you enjoy this lesson? Don’t forget to check out our website for many more free English lessons: Oxford Online English.com. Thanks for watching! See you next time!

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

100 thoughts on “5 Steps to Improve Your English Listening – How to Improve Your English Listening

  1. i really enjoy this video. this video help me alot and courage me to listen and improve my english skills. You guys have done a pretty good job for the people's like me who want to learn the basic and the pro level english skills. love from Pakistan 💓

  2. I have a question. It's really hard for me to listen part 3 and 4 and at the same time thinking about the questions and reading their answers. Can you give me a piece of advice?

  3. I understood your pronunciation very well and my reading is improving as well. Thank you so much for this helping.

  4. This advice is very important and helpful to learn and improve listened English. In fact, it is necessery to have a real will to perform well. Never give up. Do Something Everyday. Do Something different Everyday. Try to plan practice and never give up.

  5. Hello sir can you tell me how to learn english at home i do not know english very well sir ' i want to learn english please help me to learn english sir.

  6. I m taxi driver in Bali, everyday I meet with many different person who coming from any country, thats mean everyday I practice my english but still the problem is feel hard in listening.

  7. This video is amazing, congratulations. I'm Brazilian and I understand many things, but I need to improve my English

  8. i have some quesion?? if i can get 60% in the first time i watch a material . And How i can improve my listening skill without translation. please anwser me and thank you.

  9. I think we need some grammars which explain the structure of complicated sentences that consist of adjectives and adverbs so on

  10. Thank guys so much. Your video is really benefical to practice listening skill every day. I hope tow you to post more and more other useful videos on youtube to help leaners study English the best. From Viet Nam

  11. The part of [concentrate]is so true . I try to improve my English listening by listen to radio every day morning recently. I just come to realize that only the first 10-20 minutes I understood best, further,it become more and more difficult to totally understand what they talk

  12. I suggest we can improve our English listening with Oxford classic tales , Oxford read and discover , Oxford dominoes , Oxford bookworms and Oxford factfiles.

  13. Listening to a language is the first step to acquire it, there is no either way. that's what i call the natural approach but when conscious listening takes place you have to take initiatives that's why i really appreciated your TIPS. So Learners should take their own responsibilities in the learning process instead of relying on the teacher as if the teacher is the Only solution…The best solution remains the learner's commitment and intrinsic motivation…

  14. First of all thanks a lot, I like your English speaking skills wow awesome, I can't speak well but it's better to understand, i like Oxford English I'll improve my English to listening from your videos ,
    I'll try my best to see your every oploaded videos , thanks a lot.

  15. I'm don't gree with the plan because 20 don't enough for practice .I practice more time and I feel not enough I need more time

  16. This is very helpful for beginners thank you "Oxford online english".I like your teaching methods,you guys do very awesome work keep going …i watched your videos daily .it helps improve my speaking and how to write well,i don't know how to speak English fastly and fluently … sometimes I speak English in front of my mirror that time I provided mmm aahhh this type of sounds it's very irritating me…how to overcome this type of unusual sounds please guide me🙏… recently I try to study English … although my English is not good,i try to speak confidently ,in my home town no one speaks English that's my main problem. One day I speak English fluently I'm sure about that…thank you so much guys for this type of video give us…

  17. Thank you so much) Kasia, you are really so cute) the way you explain the lesson is very reassuring and convincing.., thanks both of you..,

  18. I'm Brazilian and I could understnd avery single word. LOL. I could also understando your words. but I guess in my case, I really need to improve my vocab

  19. Good day Teachers,
    I have listened your podcasts with all of your teachers and actually I understand around 90 percent of what you are saying. What might be the next step? Have you some more difficult podcasts for advanced students?

  20. thank you so much! i don't speak english but i understand this video
    please and please I need english books pdf were can i get???

  21. In Bangladesh people use difficult word for speaking English because they don't know how to use speaking English ..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *