Improving Listening Skills
by Maria hariton
I came to the U.S.A with the hope of learning English. For 3 years I have studied very hard. I can say my English is not to bad, but I don't consider it enough to make me feel confident in the language. I don't really know what I can do to improve it? (especially listening). Any recommendations?
We are experiencing the same feelings. I have lived in Spain for three years (with the same hopes of improving my Spanish). My Spanish is good but there are always moments when I feel it is lacking or could be better. So by answering your question I can answer my own. :)
From my experience confidence is something that we personally control. I can honestly say that I can turn my confidence on and off. It is something that I can make stronger simply by thinking.
Fake it until it is real!
If you do not feel confident, you need to pretend you are until it becomes true. Think of yourself as an actor. You are playing the role of a perfectly bilingual person.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Meaning, give yourself a break or allow yourself not to be perfect. No one is perfect, so please don't expect it of yourself. Try to prioritize your issues. I mean if you have a strong accent and no one can understand you, then improving your accent would be a high priority. On the other hand if you have a slight accent, that is actually quite beautiful, then don't spend hours trying to get rid of your accent. (Just an example)
Note: There is a big difference to pronouncing things poorly and having an accent.
Believe that Small Actions
If you focus on studying for 30 minutes a day you will be toning your "English muscle". Think about Learning English like working out at the gym.
If you go to the gym and workout for 5 hours straight with really heavy weights...this is not going to make you healthier. You are going to be very sore the next day and then what? Doing that once a month is not going to sculpt your body.
What about going to the gym 5 days a week for 45 minutes; using weights that are not too heavy but just enough to make it a challenge?
This is what your English needs.
You need to find an activity that you enjoy and can do for 30 minutes 5 days a week.
Remember to combine all the aspects of English.
Sample Study PlanYou could read an article on something that interests you (the swine flu or the economic crisis).Then study the vocabulary. Then you could try to write a review of that article, including your personal reactions and thoughts. Then you could pretend to be a reporter doing a live report on this subject and record a video (speaking).To finish, you could listen to a podcast or news broad cast on the same topic.
Wow...what a great idea (I am going to have to do that for my Spanish!)
The Secret to Learning English
Never giving up.
That is it. You just keep going.
If you are frustrated that you don't understand, keep trying.
If you are mad that you can't communicate as freely as you would like, try harder.
If you are sick of being mis-understood, repeat yourself until you make yourself clear.
You'll Never Fail,
Unless You Stop Trying :)