Ways of Listening, by michelle (2007)Printer-friendly version (1 page)
Listen while learning to relax: listen not trying to understand everything. Listen just getting one word here or there, and then make the effort of trying to work out the picture. Listen to the same audio several times (On TV/Radio - CNN news run every 15 or 20 mins. so if you record one hour of news, you can get the same news items three times!; do the same with TV series or audio podcasts) and you will learn to relax (Or do you think that just by listening ONCE to an audio, you should be understanding everything or lots?). Think real life will be like that: in real life we don't need to understand every single word, we don’t even pay attention to most of the words! That’s a scientific fact. Half of the times we're half-listening or not listening at all! But this doesn’t mean we have no idea about what is going on, most of the times.
Listen and repeat for fluency and correction: You can do this with the audios from all the textbooks you've used in your life. And also with useful sentences from songs and audiovisual stuff you may have. You can volunteer at Talking People to record some useful sentences we could then publish in “Useful Language”.
Listen and Speak, explain what you understood. It's like skimming the text and/or making a summary. Just check this: when you half-listen, or when you just understand “very little”, and after you work on the text and find out what it all means, where you wrong in identifying the topic, the theme, the problem? Do this exercise. Always write down one or a few words describing the topic or the problem, after the first time you’ve listened. Later listen several other times and check if you got it wrong or right! In the first listening you should always skim for the general topic. In subsequent listenings, you should try to scan the main words or ideas, notice them, because you will need them, the basic ones I mean. After listening, make the summary or paraphrase the text aloud. You can record yourself and then listen to yourself and to the audio again. Listen to News Items or Stories. You could also use interviews. On TP you will find many links to those kinds of texts.
Listen and do comprehension exercises. Using the Skimming and Scanning technique and timing yourself, listen & answer questions or fill in gaps!
Listen while you put together your own audio CD with audio files from websites! You can use Podcasts and other Downloads.
Listen to learn by heart useful language, quotes or poems!
Listen while you design a listening activity for your classmates!