Five tips for busy learners: listening and speaking

Five tips for busy learners: listening and speaking

Are you too busy to practise your English? These tips will help you improve your listening and speaking, even when you're short of time!

Most of us have busy lives, with work to do, family to look after and household chores to take care of. Sometimes it's hard to fit any English practice into the day. 

Here are a few simple ways for you to make the most of your time and practise listening and speaking in English in your everyday life. 

Listen to English when you're out and about

Wherever and whenever you can, listen to English! Whether you're in the car, on the train, waiting for the bus or walking to work, listen to some English songs or a podcast. The more time you can spend listening, the better!

Listen, even when you're not listening!

While you're busy at home, tidying, cleaning or preparing dinner, have an English TV or radio programme on in the background. Don't worry if you don't understand every word – that's normal! Gradually you'll understand more and more as you get used to the sounds and rhythm of the language. It'll even help your pronunciation too!

Listen and watch with the kids

If you're looking after children, listen to some songs or watch videos together. It'll be fun for them and great practice for you too! 

Children's shows often have lots of simple, everyday language and are fairly easy to understand. It may be easier to start with shorter cartoons or episodes than full-length films.

And cartoons aren't just for kids! Even if there aren't any children around, you can still improve your English with children's shows.

Talk to yourself!

Every learner wants to speak better English, right? But how do you improve your speaking if you don't have time to go to a conversation class? Easy – talk to yourself! You may not want to talk to yourself in public (!), but when you're at home, practise speaking out loud, or just 'talk' in your head. 

Try to use new vocabulary or phrases that you've heard or read. Practise speaking about topics that are in the news or relevant to your everyday life.

Of course, speaking a language is all about communication, and we need to actually talk to people too! But talking to yourself first can help you have better conversations with others.

Record yourself speaking

Use an app to record yourself speaking and then listen to the recording. Try to notice what you do well and what you can improve. Also, listen out for mistakes, phrases you weren't sure about and pronunciation difficulties – and think how to correct them for next time.

Listening to yourself speaking can help you become more confident and fluent in everyday conversations. It's also really useful if you're preparing for an exam or a job interview.

So there you have it. Some super-easy ways to practise listening and speaking, and, what's more, they don't cost anything. Choose one and start today!

Five tips to practise your English listening and speaking

  • If you're out and about, listen to songs or a podcast.
  • When you're at home, put English TV or radio on in the background.
  • Watch cartoons and children's videos with the kids.
  • Practise talking to yourself in English when you're alone.
  • Record yourself speaking.

Jo Blackmore


Average: 4.4 (31 votes)
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Submitted by JimmyGuo on Tue, 21/11/2023 - 15:49


Write down what I’ve heard,check out with the text,notice the pronunciation I haven’t got,then read a few times,and listen again for the last time.

Submitted by Tamim Hakimi on Wed, 08/02/2023 - 06:28


Actually when it comes to listening, wherever I am, I am listening to English podcasts and also songs. Moreover for speaking practice I have an spoken english course near my house and I am practicing my english over there.

Submitted by Fatimahassani on Mon, 30/01/2023 - 01:56


I listen to the radio in English. when I am working in the kitchen, it is really help full for me thanks.

Submitted by Amarkhail on Mon, 30/01/2023 - 01:51


it was really helpful. I really appreciate it. thank you for sharing it with everyone.

Submitted by maihninwai on Sat, 21/01/2023 - 09:21


Well, I am Learning English for long time. I feel like I do not improve much. I will use this tips and hope my English learning journey will be better in 2023.
Thank you so much

Submitted by bolano on Sun, 01/01/2023 - 07:49


Well, to improve my whole english, I used to start my day in listening english news while making household chores. İt helps me pick up some new words while providing proper ways to pronounce other words. İ use also a note to write in al the new words i could encounter each days. İ then read it again and again and use that words to make new sentences. By the end these words become usual and a part of my daily vocabulary. İ think learning english is mainly a matter of practice and commitment.

Hello bolano,

That's an excellent idea -- thanks so much for sharing it with everyone. I've used this same method with other languages too. It really works!

Happy New Year!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Solamara on Wed, 16/11/2022 - 17:28


I am used to talk to my self and listen to my favorite songs on the radio and watch series every single day.

Submitted by largolace on Wed, 02/11/2022 - 18:22


On my way to school (I take a 40 minutes bus ride) I listen to podcast or music or I watch my favorite tv series. And for the speaking part, I talk to myself in English all the time (it makes me think I'm cooler or something:))))