Listenings and how difficult people think is to improve this skill
At the beginning of all my courses I ask my students what they expect from the course they are attending. Most of them answer in the same way: I want to improve my listening skills and I don’t know how to do it because I don’t have enough time.
Well, we all have time if we search for the ideal tool or resource to help us to improve that skill.
Nowadays, the Internet offers us a vast variety of options to choose from to be able to learn and practise anything we want. In the case of improving our listening skills there are some interesting options to be taken into account:
1.- Series or movies: since platforms as Netflix or HBO are accessible anywhere, you can watch your favourite films in any language you want to practise. There is a discussion among teachers to know which the best way to watch them. In my opinion it depends on your level. If your level is low, you can choose between listening them in Spanish with subtitles in English, or audio in English with subtitles in Spanish (highly recommended), or just try to have everything in English: audio and subtitles. Obviously for higher levels, English is the only option. Many say that having subtitles is unnecessary or even useless, but let me tell you something. At the same time you are listening to the English language and read the words, your mind is identifying those words: their pronunciation, you are paying attention to how words go together, in other words, you are not only doing a listening exercise, but a reading comprehension as well, double practice.
2.- Podcasts: it is great listening to your favourite topics and at the same time practicing some English and skills. Currently there are millions and millions of programmes to follow related to any interest: food, fashion, economics, sports… just find the one you like and listen to it as much as you can. Language in this kind of listening is orientated to a specific area, so you will learn a lot.
3.- Radio: for me it is one of the best ways to improve listening skills. Why? Well, language is open to any topic, there are many different people talking, not only voice overs but also people who phone to the radio, people interviewed, advertisements, songs, etc. I listen to the radio with an app called TuneIn, but sure there are many others, and found a dial with music I like.