“…my biggest problem in English is the listening”
This is what 95% of my students say to me. If this is also your problem, then I’m about to give you the solution to this problem (you will find the secret to the solution in the article, but if you read to the very end of the article, you will find another secret and helpful resource).
What’s even better, is that the solution is FREE!
You know, I know, and everyone knows that the best way to improve your listening skills is to listen more. It’s not difficult. However, the problem is finding the time to listen.
“I don’t have time to watch films in English” is another common thing my students tell me, but I have great news for you: WATCHING FILMS IS NOT THE ONLY WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS!
In fact, it’s not even the best way to improve your listening skills; the best way (and the secret) is…. PODCASTS!
A podcast is an audio program that you download onto your Smart Phone (or tablet). It’s like a radio show, but you can listen when you want (and there are no annoying adverts).
Another way to describe a podcast is that it is like a TV Series. You follow the ‘TV Show’, then every day / week / month a new episode of the show is released for you to listen to (the frequency of new episodes depends on the show).
One of the best reasons is that podcast are FREE!
And I don’t mean ‘free’ like ‘you can do what you want’, I mean ‘free’ like YOU DON’T PAY! 😉
Anyway, here are some more reasons podcasts are perfect to help you improve your listening:
They are more useful than films:
Films are long and it’s difficult to find 2 free hours to watch one. Not only that, but it’s even more difficult to watch a film in English when you are tired and concentrate for 2 hours. So you watch films in English but with English subtitles, right?
A quick question for you: when you speak to someone in English on the street do you see subtitles under their mouth? 😉
The answer (I hope) is no. This is why watching films with subtitles is not useful to improve your listening skills, it only helps your reading skills.
For this reason, podcasts are perfect, as you don’t have the option to use subtitles – just like you don’t when you have a normal conversation in English!
Also, podcasts do not last 2 hours! They are much shorter, even 10 minutes. If you listened to one 10 minute English podcast a day, you would see a big difference in your listening skills very quickly.
You can listen to podcasts when you want:
You don’t need to sit in front of the TV (or in front of the computer on some dodgy streaming site) to listen to a podcast, you can listen at every moment of the day.
You can listen to podcasts WHEN YOU WANT and you DON’T even need to be connected to the internet!
Download the podcast episode when you have WiFi, then it saves to your phone and you can listen to it when you want. My advice is to listen to podcasts when you are doing boring things, for example:
All of these moments can be made more exciting by listening to something and what’s better is that you will be practising your English at the same time – HOORAH!
It’s easy. Very easy. Follow these steps:
Note – Remember that these podcasts are made for mother tongue speakers, so you may have difficulty to understand. However, if you continue to listen, I promise you that you will begin to understand more.
There are many podcasts that are made for learning English, many of which are in English the whole time but will be a bit easier to understand. Some examples are:
and… of course, the best* podcast to listen to if you want to learn English is ROCK N’ ROLL ENGLISH!
Just in case you don’t know, Rock n’ Roll English is my podcast and you can listen to it here.
*Please note that I don’t think it’s the best podcast to listen to, but it’s definitely not the worse either! Also this is the secret that I was talking about at the beginning of the article 😉
If you find any other great podcasts to learn English, please let me know – happy listening!
RnR Grammar Point
We use ‘about to’ in English to say something that you are going to do in the next few seconds.
For example, I am cooking and my dinner will be ready in one minute and my mother calls me, so I say “sorry mum, can you call me back in 20 minutes, I’m about to eat“.