This week we continue our answer to a question from Nga, a university student in Vietnam.
How can I improve my English listening skill?
Last time, we talked about face-to-face listening and listening to get information. This week, we talk about listening to lectures or speeches.
At many universities, for example, teachers talk for long periods of time in English. You also may listen to recordings in English. Here are some things you can try before, during and after this kind of intensive listening.
Imagine that you will hear a lecture about rainforests. Before you listen, think of what you already know. What kind of plants, animals or people live in rainforests? Are they in danger? Are there any related English words that you know? These questions can help you get ready to listen.
As you listen, keep your brain active by asking yourself other questions like: “Am I following the main points? What do I need to remember?” Be sure to take notes or record the lecture so you can listen later. You will probably hear new words you do not understand. Write them down. Then listen more carefully – does the speaker explain them? Is there a picture in the classroom or in your textbook that shows their meanings? If not, use the other words around them to guess. You can find the definitions later.
Afterward, think about how much you understood. If you can, ask your teacher a question about whatever you did not understand. React to the lecture with your own ideas, even if you only do this in your notes or with a classmate. Your reaction could be: “I think people should work harder to protect rainforests.”
Increase your listening time
You should listen to VOA news, our American Stories series, songs, movies, and other things in English every day. In time, you will understand better and better.
Next week, we’ll talk about improving pronunciation.
And that’s Ask a Teacher.
I’m Jill Robbins.
Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
lecture – n. a talk or speech given to a group of people to teach them about a particular subject
pronunciation – n. the correct way in which a word is said
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