An interview about listening skills

An interview about listening skills

Listen to the English teacher talk about listening to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.

Preparation

Transcript

Presenter: So, today's expert teacher is Gabriella, a university English teacher from Leeds. Gabriella, hi and thanks for joining us today.

Gabriella: Thanks for having me!

Presenter: So, I have to confess today's topic is something I am really bad at: listening. Most people say speaking is the most stressful part of learning a new language but, for me, with my B1 German, speaking isn't so bad. At least I'm in control of it. But listening … woah … people speak so fast and it's like my brain just shuts down. Am I just really strange and bad at listening? Tell me, honestly, I can take it.

Gabriella: No, you're not strange. In fact, it's really common. You know, in exams most people do pretty well in speaking compared with listening. Of course, exams are a different situation from real life because in an exam you can't ask for something to be repeated or explained. You usually have just one or maybe two opportunities to listen to the dialogue and then it's gone.

Presenter: Right, but in real life I feel stupid always saying, 'Sorry, can you repeat that, please?', especially if I still don't understand even when they repeat it. And people out there listening, I hope you don't do this – quite often the person just repeats what they said equally as fast and I'm still lost!

Gabriella: They do, don't they? In real life, you've got two strategies. One is to pretend to understand and get out of the conversation as fast as you can.

Presenter: Yep, sounds familiar!

Gabriella: But, obviously that's not going to help if it's a conversation with high stakes. It might have important consequences. I mean, if you're just chatting with a stranger at the bus stop, it doesn't matter. But imagine you're at a government office or a bank, trying to find out what paperwork you need to get your ID or open a bank account. What can you do then?

Presenter: I hope you've got the answer, Gabriella, because I'm coming out in a cold sweat just thinking about either of those situations!

Gabriella: The other strategy is to summarise what they said.

Presenter: But how can you do that if you didn't understand what they said?

Gabriella: Ah, well, you only start the summary, so you might say, in German in your case, 'OK, so the first thing I have to do is …?' and make it a question. Or, for example, 'And which office is that again?' Break it down into smaller questions and the other person will naturally start answering them. That way you're controlling the conversation a bit more.

Presenter: I get you ...

Discussion

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Average: 4.1 (117 votes)
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Submitted by Olena999 on Tue, 18/06/2024 - 18:55

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I listen carefully, with stopping and repeating on some moments. Sometimes speaking out the phrases I hear, but can't understand them and after that in most cases I got it! It's like a training course for your ears. 

Submitted by ubaid332 on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 07:57

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What do you do to help with listening?

While listening, I try to understand the podcast carefully without any distractions. This helps me to understand the topic and words. In this B1 level, the podcast speed is a little high but I still got it and improved my listening skills. Sometimes, when I do not understand the listening, I check the text along with listening it helps me a lot. Thanks to the British Council for creating an amazing website and course structure.

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Submitted by BRENDA_HONEYVILLA on Wed, 20/03/2024 - 23:27

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What do you do to help with listening?

Usually, I like to use the AFI to practice my pronunciation, and later, I listen to each word in Google Translate and repeat the sound. Afterward, I speak aloud with the translator to check my pronunciation and then listen again or change the text and repeat the actions.

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Submitted by BRENDA_HONEYVILLA on Wed, 20/03/2024 - 23:27

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What do you do to help with listening?

Usually, I like to use the AFI to practice my pronunciation, and later, I listen to each word in Google Translate and repeat the sound. Afterward, I speak aloud with the translator to check my pronunciation and then listen again or change the text and repeat the actions.

Submitted by Jim34 on Tue, 27/02/2024 - 17:05

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What do you do to help with listening? I always try to listen to a podcast three times to improve my listening skills. The first time, I relax and listen to a podcast; the second time, I listen very carefully and try to recognize all the words; and finally, I listen to the podcast and read the transcription at the same time. 

I also try to create an English environment where I watch movies and series in English, listen to music, and listen to the news.

Submitted by Toan3002 on Mon, 29/01/2024 - 04:03

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I normally listen to podcasts or just watch English videos to enhance my listening skills.

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Submitted by alessandro.it on Sat, 27/01/2024 - 21:35

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I ask people to speak slowly in advance, but sometimes it doesn't work. Actually, I find Gabriella's strategy very useful and I am looking forward to try it as soon as I can. Anyway, I remember my English teacher saying that sometimes she went to England to pay a visit to her friend Joice: she understood her very well because she spoke clearly, but not her Joice's sons because they mumbled and their speech was confused. In other words, listening is much harder if people mumble instead of speaking and can't express themself clearly.

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Submitted by natinnatnat on Thu, 25/01/2024 - 20:39

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I've improved my listening skills by watching videos with subtitles. This way If I can't understand what people are saying I can just check the subtitles and understand right away.

Submitted by oumkhaditima on Mon, 08/01/2024 - 09:04

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When I listening I can understand some section comparing to author, but to more understand I read the text and listening again the recording and this help me to hear and understand more words.
In finally thank you to British council