One of the skills non-native English speakers should improve is their listening skills. Listening is important as it is involved in our daily communication. We have to listen carefully to announcements in a bus or train ride, on classroom discussions and even to our parents when they scold us. Listening is everywhere and is vital.
Learners of English always look for opportunities where they can improve their listening skills, most especially those who are planning to take English proficiency examinations such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Here are some ways on how you can improve your listening skills.
1. Always have a mindset that listening is different from hearing. Hearing is a natural instinct of humans because of our ears; however, listening is taking a closer look at what was said and understanding every piece of information into it.
2. Practice listening with fun materials. Listen to English songs. Observe how words are pronounced and used in the sentence. Try to write the lyrics of the songs as you have heard it and check online. It is a good practice for your note taking skills.
3. Watch English movies. Take note on different idioms and vocabulary they use on their dialogues. Look it up in the dictionary and try to write your own sentence for it. Watch movies that use different accents like American, British and Australian accents.
4. Watching the news is also a great help to improve listening skills. Choose a particular news article and write down what you have understood on the news including the particulars such as names, addresses and the main issue. Check online whether what you have written down is correct.
5. Be exposed in an English speaking environment. The more people around you speaking English, the more practice you get.
6. Do activities with people who speak English. Join a book club or a speaking club that will encourage you to practice English all the time.
7. Listen to English podcasts. A lot are available online for free.
8. Find someone you can always talk to in English. You can also practice your confidence in using the English language when you communicate with this person.
9. Listen to English tutorials online. They provide a lot of activities that help boost listening skills.
10. Learn from your mistakes. Once you know you are weak on something, you automatically work hard on it and find more ways to improve.
Good English speakers are good listeners. Using English is not only limited with how well you speak but also with how well you understand others because of great listening skills.