Listening is the skill that all my students have most difficulty with, but the strange thing is that listening is a skill that you can work on alone – you don’t need a teacher.
All my students tell me that they have more difficulty with listening than anything else, so I always say to them:
“Listening is a skill that you can work on alone, you don’t need a teacher. So why don’t you do it?”
I also always tell them that watching films is not a good idea – read more about that here.
Here are the main reasons why my students don’t do it:
“It’s frustrating when I can’t understand everything”
….is one answer, the other one I normally receive is this:
“It’s too boring listening to things in English”
The main reason listening to English can be boring is because you don’t understand. When two mother tongue speakers are chatting, it’s not so easy.
This is where the Rock n’ Roll English podcast is different, and it’s also why it can help you understand and improve.
Firstly, Rock n’ Roll English is a podcast designed for English students that are intermediate or above.
In each show, I speak to a friend (usually my friend Dan) and we have a normal conversation about a topic. Dan has no training in teaching English and is also a bit stupid, so he is a perfect person to listen to, as he talks like the average English person you meet.
However, I understand when he speaks too fast or when he uses a difficult word, so I quickly stop the conversation and explain it. In this way, you are listening to a ‘normal’ conversation, but the explanations will help you to fully understand the conversation which means that you won’t get bored (obviously there will be some words that you don’t understand, read more about that later in the article).
What is even more useful to you is that we speak about normal things. There is no talk about how to order an ice cream or ‘the pen is on the table’, it’s just two stupid English people having a stupid conversation – which is what 90% of normal conversations are.
You hear all of the new words in the correct context, so you can understand when to use them (this is especially important for phrasal verbs). Also, the words are explained again at the end of the show and you can go to the show notes page on the website to see the words and there are also quizzes using these words which helps you remember them.
Obviously listening helps you in the understanding, but it also helps a lot in SPEAKING. This is because when you listen to the language regularly you get used to the sound of the language. This means that when you speak, you don’t need to ask yourself a grammar rule like “do I need to put the verb before or after the subject?”, you will just say what sounds more natural to you, as you will be used to listening to the language.
When you listen to this podcast (or anything in English), do not worry if you do not understand every word!
When listening to a foreign language people (including me when I listen to Italian) want to understand EVERY word; however, the strange thing is that when I listen to my own language, I often stop paying attention and don’t listen to every word!
Also, if you understand EVERY word, then this podcast is too easy for you. I recommend you listen to normal English podcasts for mother tongue speakers.
The golden rule in language learning is always to listen to something that is slightly above your level. So as long as you understand the ‘story’ and can follow, then that’s fine.
One last thing: every time you listen to an episode, give yourself a pat on the back! As every podcast you listen to is progress to understanding and speaking better!
RnR Grammar Point
Look at the sentence from the article below and look at the word ‘however’. Think about:
“When listening to a foreign language people (including me when I listen to Italian) want to understand EVERY word; however, the strange thing is that…..”
‘However’ is definitely a Rock n’ Roll word, when you use it in the middle of a sentence like above, make sure you follow the advice and out a semi colon before and a colon after it!