We have discussed the importance of reading in “Two Important Factors of Reading Authentic Books While Learning a Foreign Language. What and How to Read”. So, in this article, I would like to talk about another receptive skill such as listening. The drawback of this skill is that it takes time to develop. The bright side is that nowadays, there are so many digital tools that practicing will become fun spending.
Why do we need to dedicate time to develope listening skills?
As I have said above it is time-consuming for several reasons. Firstly, it is not a walk on the beach as there are usually many accents even among native speakers. So, to succeed it is necessary to practice regularly. By regularly I mean every day. Remember the rule of ten thousand hours, which will be beneficial in the future. Secondly, a person with well-developed receptive skills in both readings and listening will find it easier to form their thoughts while speaking or writing. In this case, dedicated time can be considered an investment.
What to listen to?
We should appreciate the time we live in as almost every person has access to tons of resources. You can choose an interesting podcast or opt for a video on YouTube. If you are just a beginner there are websites with recordings where the narrator is reading at different speeds according to the proficiency level of the listeners. So, it is not hard to find something really engaging.
How to listen?
There are several ways of how to tackle this task. Again, if you are a beginner, it is better to schedule the time, about 20 minutes to start with. On some resources, you can find recordings along with the script. In the beginning, you may follow the script while listening just to eliminate the stress level. But don’t take too long, otherwise, the progress will slow down.
If you are at a higher level already, you can make listening to a part of your routine. For instance, while organizing your life in the morning you can turn on something from Ted Talks, or play an audiobook or a video from YouTube. In the beginning, you might feel strange as you won’t have noticeable results. The key is to get used to receiving information on a foreign language on the fly. Once you have incorporated such practices into your everyday life, you will soon notice the level of comprehension. The best part is that you won’t need to focus too much on what you are listening to.
One more tip, the more you listen… try to search for speakers with various backgrounds as they will speak with different accents. Which is really awesome as accents demonstrate each person’s identity. But to understand people better, we should be accustomed to different pronunciation types.
The bottom line
Studying a foreign language is never easy and takes time. So, we can decide whether this time will be entertaining and beneficial or boring and demotivating. Enjoy your favorite podcast and coffee!