English Listening Skills: 
Stop Making These 3 Mistakes!

If I asked you how you are trying to improve your English listening skills you might tell me that;

...you have just bought a new grammar book and dictionary

...that you are trying to memorize vocabulary words from vocabulary lists and

...that you are listening to business English podcasts (even if you do not enjoy business topics).


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Those all might sound like great ideas but in reality your approach to learning English is all wrong.

Let's take a look at 3 big mistakes that English learners are making right now!

#1) I'm Studying Grammar Everyday!

I like what A.J. Hoge says about grammar...

"Grammar kills your English speaking!". I couldn't have said it better myself.

Why is it that students are so proud of this activity?

Studying grammar is boring, and does it really help your English listening skills or your ability to communicate?

Who cares if you can differentiate between the first and second conditional tenses. What people really want to know is what you would do in a hypothetical situation.

Students are focusing their energy on grammar even though we all know that you know the grammar.

How many of you know we say "people are" but when speaking say "people is"?

This is the point, studying grammar does not help you eliminate mistakes - practising and using the grammar in real situations eliminates mistakes. (Focus on your English listening skills and your will improve!)

#2) I Listen to Business English Podcasts, But I Don't Enjoy Them!

Don't force yourself to use boring English materials.

Use real English on topics that you find interesting and you will learn much more!

Why is it that students feel they must be tortured by English?

If you do not like business English or you do not find it interesting thendon't listen to business English audio.

Try to think of activities or topics that you do enjoy and then look for a podcast on that topic. Do not limit yourself to ESL podcasts. Just think of a topic (American history, gardening, sailing) and search for a podcast on it.

It might be difficult to understand at first but at least you will be interested enough in the topic to keep listening and trying to understand. Soon your English listening skills will start to improve and it will become easier and easier.

Recently I read a book in Spanish about improving your memory. It was a bit difficult to understand at times but I enjoyed it. It was interesting and that interest made me continue and keep trying. If that information hadn't been useful or interesting I would have closed the book and read something else.

#3 I'm Memorizing Lists of Vocabulary

Does anyone else find this task boring and repetitive?

Yes...you might learn some new words, but they are all out of context and the process is time consuming!

Why not read? When you read in English you reinforce the vocabulary that you already know and you are also introduced to new words within a specific context.

Just keep a dictionary handy to look up the words and TA DA! A fun and interesting way to improve your English vocabulary.

You can read books, magazines and even online newspaper articles, anything that you find interesting and that you would read in your native language as well.

Remember!

Learning English is a life long process so at least enjoy the ride!

All the best,
Diana


Related Links:

1) Find out more about A.J. Hoge's "Effortless English Lessons".

2) Gain effective listening skills as you listen to Carmen Colombo's article on "Patience".

3) English Listening Skills >> Helping You Learn English Homepage

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