Believe it or not, purely because you are not a native speaker of English, your listening skills are already far better than if you spoke English fluently. Why? Because one of the most important parts of learning another language is being able to hear it, listen to it, understand it, and then….be able to speak it and write it!
The problems Non-native English listeners usually face are:
- The speaking is too fast
- The person is not using the correct grammar
- There are too many unknown words in the discussion
- The words are not pronounced fully
- The listener feels completely lost about what is being talked about
So you are asking a very important question and I’ll be glad to help you.
Here are a few things you can do to practice:
- Make listening a daily habit: to something (outside of your class activities) a daily habit. These can be radio broadcasts, online chats, television programmes or simply taking time to listen to people speaking English in our world nearby. Anything you do, so long as you do it daily will improve your skills
- Get yourself an English listening CD and put it on in your car: Yes I know you would prefer to listen to music, but if you are studying English, your school will probably give you a CD to go with your textbook. Keep it on in the car and play it over and over while you are in the traffic jams, on your way to work, it will help you both in and outside of the class.
- Listen to English music: this is a really effective way to gain more English. Buy some music CDs from western artists you like and listen and even sing along with them. English itself has a rhythm and musical aspect to it, listening to music with English helps you with that. Listen to the music not only in your car, but at home while you are cleaning, at parties, at the gym and even if you are in a western restaurant, they will probably have English speaking music on in the background. (Just take a few moments to listen to it while you are enjoying your meal.)
- Download some Native English Speaking Podcasts: These are very good ways to practice your listening as you can simply rewind if you want to hear something again, plus you will be listening to something you have an interest in. Most radio stations have podcasts you can check up on.
Don’t forget to make a note of any new vocabulary in your notebook too, so you can ask you teacher tomorrow!
- How to Practice English Listening Comprehension Skills
- Study Tip, How to Practice Listening
- Listening Practice in American English
- The Best Listening Sites for English Language Learners