Improving Your Listening Skills

Listening plays a huge part in learning any language. The first thing you did as a child was listen – you couldn’t talk, or write or speak, so you listened. Unfortunately as we grow up a lot of us lose the skill of listening, but like most things, it is something you can improve on.

The first thing to do is learn to listen actively. Learning a language is a lot like learning to play a musical instrument. You can listen to music for enjoyment, but if you want to study the music you have to listen more critically. It’s the same with languages; you need to make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that someone is saying but, more importantly, pay attention, and try to understand the complete message behind the words.

A. Advice for Listening

Performance Level: Low

Score Range: 0–14

  1. Practice listening to something in English every day and gradually increase the amount of time that you listen.
    • Listen to different kinds of materials.
      • Listen actively. Try to answer the “wh” questions.
        • who
        • what
        • when
        • where
        • why
        • how
      • Listen passively to get the general idea of what’s being said.
    • Keep a listening log (a list of everything you listen to each day/week).
      • Write a one-sentence summary to remember the main idea of what you heard.
      • Write down new expressions, idioms, and vocabulary that you hear.
    • Use dictations and other exercises to help your listening ability.
      • Ask an English speaker to dictate an article to you. Good sources of material are newspapers, magazines, and textbooks.
        • First, write down exactly what you hear
        • Then only take notes on the important points that you hear
      • Do information gap exercises, using unfamiliar content and complex structures.
  1. Use the resources in your community to practice listening to English.
    • Visit places in your community where you can practice listening to English.
      • If possible, enroll in an English class.
      • Go to a museum and take an audio tour in English.
      • Follow a guided tour in English in your city.
      • Call or visit a hotel where tourists stay and get information in English about room rates, hotel availability, or hotel facilities.
      • Call and listen to information recorded in English, such as a movie schedule, a weather report, or information about an airplane flight.
    • Watch or listen to programs recorded in English.
      • Watch television programs.
        • CNN, the Discovery Channel or National Geographic
        • Watch movies, soap operas or situation comedies on television
        • Do this with a friend and talk about the program together
      • Rent videos (turn off the captions!) or go to a movie in English.
      • Listen to a book on tape in English.
      • Listen to music in English and then check your accuracy by finding the lyrics on the Internet (e.g., http://www.lyrics.com).
      • Listen to English language recordings that come with a transcript. Listen to each recording at least three times.
        • The first time, take notes about the main ideas you hear.
        • The second time, read the transcript and listen for the ideas you wrote down.
        • The third time, write down any words and phrases that you didn’t understand and look them up.
      • Go to Internet sites to practice listening.
        • National Public Radio (www.npr.org)
        • CBS News (www.cbsnews.com)
        • Randall’s Cyber Listening Lab (www.esl-lab.com)
        • BBC World Service.com Learning English (www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish)
      • Practice speaking English with others.
        • Exchange language lessons with an English speaker who wants to learn your language.
  1. Begin to prepare for academic situations.
    • Visit academic classes in English.
    • Record lectures or presentations and replay them several times.
      • Listen to short sections several times until you understand the main points and the flow of ideas.
      • Stop the recording in the middle and predict what will come next.
    • Become familiar with the organization or structureof academic lectures.
      • Pay attention to the difference between main ideas and details presented.
        • Listen for the general (main) ideas
        • Pay attention to details
          • facts
          • examples
          • opinions
        • Pay attention to the structure.
          • lecture or presentation — introduction, body and conclusion
          • narrative story — beginning, middle and end
        • Learn to recognize different styles of organization.
          • theory and evidence
          • cause and effect
          • steps of a process
          • comparison of two things
        • Think carefully about the purpose of the lecture.
          • Try to answer the question, “What is the professor trying to accomplish in this lecture?”
          • Write down only the information that you hear. Be careful not to interpret information based on your personal understanding or knowledge of the topic.
        • Take notes while you listen to a talk or lecture. This will help you identify the main ideas of the talk.
          • Practice doing simple dictations to work on your ability to listen and write at the same time.
          • Work with a partner. Listen to a talk and take notes individually.
            • Compare your notes with your partner’s and check for differences (and similarities)
            • Use your notes to tell your partner what you heard
          • Use your notes to write an outline or summary.
          • Gradually increase the length of the talks (and your summaries).
  1. Listen for signals that will help you understand the organization of a talk, connections between ideas and the importance of ideas.
    • Listen for expressions and vocabulary that tell you the type of information being given.
      • Think carefully about the type of information that these phrases show.
        • opinion (I think, It appears that, It is thought that)
        • theory (In theory)
        • inference (therefore, then)
        • negatives (not, words that begin with “un,” “non,” “dis” “a”)
        • fillers (non-essential information) (uh, er, um)
      • Identify digressions (discussion of a different topic from the main topic) or jokes that are not important to the main lecture. [It’s okay not to understand these!]
    • Listen for signal words or phrases that connect ideas in order to recognize the relationship between ideas.
      • Think carefully about the connection between ideas that these words show.
        • reasons (because, since)
        • results (as a result, so, therefore, thus, consequently)
        • examples (for example, such as)
        • comparisons (in contrast, than)
        • an opposing idea (on the other hand, however)
        • another idea (furthermore, moreover, besides)
        • a similar idea (similarly, likewise)
        • restatements of information (in other words, that is)
        • conclusions (in conclusion, in summary)
      • Pay attention to the connections between examples.
        • When you hear two details, identify the relationship between them
        • Write a sentence connecting the examples using the appropriate connecting word
      • Pay attention to intonation and other ways that speakers indicate that information is important.
        • Important key words are often
          • repeated
          • paraphrased (repeated information but using different words)
          • said louder and clearer
          • stressed
        • Pay attention to body language and intonation patterns used to express different emotions.
          • Emotions are often expressed through changes in intonation or stress
          • Facial expressions or word choices can indicate excitement, anger, happiness or frustration
        • Listen for pauses between important points.
        • During a lecture, pay attention to words that are written on the board.
          • Listen for numbers that you might hear in prices, times or addresses.
          • Listen for verbs and other expressions that show if an event is happening in the past, present or future.

B. Advice for Listening

Performance Level: Intermediate

Score Range: 15–21

  1. Practice listening to something in English every day and gradually increase the amount of time that you listen.
    • Listen to different kinds of materials.
      • Listen actively. Try to answer the “wh” questions.
        • who
        • what
        • when
        • where
        • why
        • how
      • Listen passively to get the general idea of what’s being said.
    • Keep a listening log (a list of everything you listen to each day/week).
      • Write a one-sentence summary to remember the main idea of what you heard.
      • Write down new expressions, idioms, and vocabulary that you hear.
    • Use dictations and other exercises to help your listening ability.
      • Ask an English speaker to dictate an article to you. Good sources of material are newspapers, magazines, and textbooks.
        • First, write down exactly what you hear
        • Then only take notes on the important points that you hear
      • Do information gap exercises, using unfamiliar content and complex structures.
  1. Use the resources in your community to practice listening to English.
    • Visit places in your community where you can practice listening to English.
      • If possible, enroll in an English class.
      • Go to a museum and take an audio tour in English.
      • Follow a guided tour in English in your city.
      • Call or visit a hotel where tourists stay and get information in English about room rates, hotel availability, or hotel facilities.
      • Call and listen to information recorded in English, such as a movie schedule, a weather report, or information about an airplane flight.
    • Watch or listen to programs recorded in English.
      • Watch television programs.
        • CNN, the Discovery Channel or National Geographic
        • Watch movies, soap operas or situation comedies on television
        • Do this with a friend and talk about the program together
      • Rent videos (turn off the captions!) or go to a movie in English.
      • Listen to a book on tape in English.
      • Listen to music in English and then check your accuracy by finding the lyrics on the Internet (e.g., http://www.lyrics.com).
      • Listen to English language recordings that come with a transcript. Listen to each recording at least three times.
        • The first time, take notes about the main ideas you hear
        • The second time, read the transcript and listen for the ideas you wrote down
        • The third time, write down any words and phrases that you didn’t understand and look them up
      • Go to Internet sites to practice listening.
        • National Public Radio (www.npr.org)
        • CBS News (www.cbsnews.com)
        • Randall’s Cyber Listening Lab (www.esl-lab.com)
        • BBC World Service.com Learning English (www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish)
      • Practice speaking English with others.
        • Exchange language lessons with an English speaker who wants to learn your language.
  1. Begin to prepare for academic situations.
    • Visit academic classes in English.
    • Record lectures or presentations and replay them several times.
      • Listen to short sections several times until you understand the main points and the flow of ideas.
      • Stop the recording in the middle and predict what will come next.
    • Become familiar with the organization or structureof academic lectures.
      • Pay attention to the difference between main ideas and details presented.
        • Listen for the general (main) ideas
        • Pay attention to details
          • facts
          • examples
          • opinions
        • Pay attention to the structure.
          • lecture or presentation — introduction, body, and conclusion
          • narrative story — beginning, middle, and end
        • Learn to recognize different styles of organization.
          • theory and evidence
          • cause and effect
          • steps of a process
          • comparison of two things
        • Think carefully about the purpose of the lecture.
          • Try to answer the question, “What is the professor trying to accomplish in this lecture?”
          • Write down only the information that you hear. Be careful not to interpret information based on your personal understanding or knowledge of the topic.
        • Take notes while you listen to a talk or lecture. This will help you identify the main ideas of the talk.
          • Practice doing simple dictations to work on your ability to listen and write at the same time.
          • Work with a partner. Listen to a talk and take notes individually.
            • Compare your notes with your partner’s and check for differences (and similarities)
            • Use your notes to tell your partner what you heard
          • Use your notes to write an outline or summary.
          • Gradually increase the length of the talks (and your summaries).
  1. Listen for signals that will help you understand the organization of a talk, connections between ideas, and the importance of ideas.
    • Listen for expressions and vocabulary that tell you the type of information being given.
      • Think carefully about the type of information that these phrases show.
        • opinion (I think, It appears that, It is thought that)
        • theory (In theory)
        • inference (therefore, then)
        • negatives (not, words that begin with “un,” “non,” “dis,” “a”)
        • fillers (non-essential information) (uh, er, um)
      • Identify digressions (discussion of a different topic from the main topic) or jokes that are not important to the main lecture. [It’s okay not to understand these!]
    • Listen for signal words or phrases that connect ideas in order to recognize the relationship between ideas.
      • Think carefully about the connection between ideas that these words show.
        • reasons (because, since)
        • results (as a result, so, therefore, thus, consequently)
        • examples (for example, such as)
        • comparisons (in contrast, than)
        • an opposing idea (on the other hand, however)
        • another idea (furthermore, moreover, besides)
        • a similar idea (similarly, likewise)
        • restatements of information (in other words, that is)
        • conclusions (in conclusion, in summary)
      • Pay attention to the connections between examples.
        • When you hear two details, identify the relationship between them
        • Write a sentence connecting the examples using the appropriate connecting word
      • Pay attention to intonation and other ways that speakers indicate that information is important
        • Important key words are often
          • repeated
          • paraphrased (repeated information but using different words)
          • said louder and clearer
          • stressed
        • Pay attention to body language and intonation patterns used to express different emotions.
          • Emotions are often expressed through changes in intonation or stress
          • Facial expressions or word choices can indicate excitement, anger, happiness, or frustration
        • Listen for pauses between important points.
        • During a lecture, pay attention to words that are written on the board.
          • Listen for numbers that you might hear in prices, times, or addresses
          • Listen for verbs and other expressions that show if an event is happening in the past, present, or future

C. Advice for Listening

Performance Level: High

Score Range: 22–30

  1. Use the resources in your community to practice listening to English.
    • Visit places in your community where you can hear English spoken.
      • Go to an English school, an embassy or an English-speaking Chamber of Commerce.
      • Go to a museum and take an audio tour in English.
      • Follow a guided tour in English of your city.
      • Call or visit a hotel where tourists stay and get information in English about room rates, hotel availability or hotel facilities.
      • Call and listen to information recorded in English, such as a movie schedule, a weather report or information about an airplane flight.
    • Watch or listen to programs recorded in English.
      • Watch television programs.
        • CNN, the Discovery Channel or National Geographic
        • Watch movies, soap operas or situation comedies
      • Rent videos or go to a movie in English.
      • Listen to a book on tape in English.
      • Listen to music in English and then check your accuracy by finding the lyrics on the Internet (e.g., http://www.lyrics.com).
    • Go to Internet sites to practice listening.
      • National Public Radio (www.npr.org)
      • CBS News (www.cbsnews.com)
      • Randall’s Cyber Listening Lab (www.esl-lab.com)
      • BBC World Service.com Learning English (www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish)
    • Get CDs with full-length lectures. Full-length lectures/presentations are available from UC Berkeley.
    • Practice speaking English with others.
      • Look for a conversation partner and exchange language lessons with an English speaker who wants to learn your language.
  1. Begin to prepare for academic situations.
    • Visit academic classes, cultural centers, or museums where people are invited to talk in English about their work.
      • Before you listen to a lecture in English, read assigned chapters or background information on academic topics.
      • Visit lectures on a wide variety of topics.
    • Record lectures or presentations and replay them several times.
      • Listen to different types of talks on various topics, including subjects in which you have limited or little background.
      • Listen to short sections several times until you understand the main points and the flow of ideas.
      • Stop the recording in the middle and predict what will come next.
      • Practice listening to longer lectures.
    • Become familiar with the organization or structureof lectures.
      • Pay attention to the structure.
        • lecture or presentation — introduction, body, and conclusion
        • narrative story — beginning, middle, and end
      • Learn to recognize different styles of organization.
        • theory and evidence
        • cause and effect
        • steps of a process
        • comparison of two things
      • Think carefully about the purposeof a lecture.
        • Try to answer the question, “What is the professor trying to accomplish in this lecture?”
        • Write down only the information that you hear. Be careful not to interpret information based on your personal understanding or knowledge of the topic.
          • Answer questions based on what was actually discussed in the talk
        • Develop a note-taking strategy to help you organize information into a hierarchy of main points and supporting details.
          • Make sure your notes follow the organization of the lecture.
          • Listen for related ideas and relationships within a lecture and make sure you summarize similar information together.
          • Use your notes to write a summary.
  1. Listen for signals that will help you understand the organization of a talk, connections between ideas, and the importance of ideas.
    • Listen for expressions and vocabulary that tell you the type of information being given.
      • Think carefully about the type of information that these phrases show.
        • opinion (I think, It appears that, It is thought that)
        • theory (In theory)
        • inference (therefore, then)
        • negatives (not, words that begin with “un,” “non,” “dis,” “a”)
        • fillers (non-essential information) (uh, er, um)
      • Identify digressions (discussion of a different topic from the main topic) or jokes that are not important to the main lecture [It’s okay not to understand these!]
    • Listen for signal words and phrases that connect ideas in order to recognize the relationship between ideas.
      • Think carefully about the connection between ideas that these words show.
        • reasons (because, since)
        • results (as a result, so, therefore, thus, consequently)
        • examples (for example, such as)
        • comparisons (in contrast, than)
        • an opposing idea (on the other hand, however)
        • another idea (furthermore, moreover, besides)
        • a similar idea (similarly, likewise)
        • restatements of information (in other words, that is)
        • conclusions (in conclusion, in summary)
      • Pay attention to intonation and other ways that speakers indicate that information is important.
        • Listen for emotionsexpressed through changes in intonation or stress.
          • Facial expressions or word choices can indicate excitement, anger, happiness, frustration, etc.
        • Listen how native speakers divide long sentences into “thought groups” to make them easier to understand. (A thought group is a spoken phrase or short sentence. Thought groups are separated by short pauses.)
          • Listen to sets of thought groups to make sure you get the whole idea of the talk
        • Listen for important key words and phrases which are often …
          • repeated
          • paraphrased (repeated information but using different words)
          • said louder and clearer
          • stressed
        • Listen for pauses between important points.
          • In a lecture, pay attention to words that are written on the board.

SUMBER :

https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/scores/improve/advice_listening_low

https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/scores/improve/

https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/scores/improve/advice_listening_high

http://www.learnenglish.de/improveenglish/improvelisteningpage.html

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