One of the best ways to improve your listening is ….

2By Joe Gleckler

One of the best ways to improve your listening is by watching movies, tv or other types of video.  I have been teaching English for 14 years, including 5 years in Japan and 2 in Korea.  I recommend finding a movie that you are VERY interested in watching – because you will watch it at least 3 times (actually more if you include every time you pause and rewind to catch the dialogue) in order to improve your English.

The first time, watch it just for fun – without subtitles.  Try to understand the basic story – do not worry too much about trying to catch every word – and try not to rewind.  This is good practice for real life – because in your real life, you can never rewind.

The second time, watch with subtitles (in English!).  Try to figure out if the words that you THINK you hear are the same as the words that you see on the screen.  Check the pronunciation of those words.  Do not focus too much on vocabulary – listen mainly for sound (pronunciation, intonation, accents, etc.)

Before you watch the video the third time, look up new words that you heard the previous two times.  When you watch, take good notes – you will pause and rewind the video many times.  Your goal should be to understand how these new words function.  Write down the entire sentence, if possible, so that when you ask a native speaker to teach you the meaning of a new word, he or she will be able to explain it to you easily.

Finally, try out the new vocabulary and expressions that you’ve learned from the video – as soon as possible!  If you do not do this quickly, you will forget how words are pronounced and how they are used.  Remember: Use it or lose it!

I hope that these steps help you as they have helped my students in the past.  Trying to understand another language can be overwhelming, but if you set up specific listening goals for yourself and use a step-by-step process, you WILL achieve your goals.

Good luck!



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