listening en inglés

Improve your English listening skills – listen to the radio

February 13th is UNESCO World Radio Day. The idea of having a celebration day for radio was first suggested by Spain at a UNESCO conference 10 years ago, since then radio stations around the world have been celebrating  World Radio Day by putting on special programmes to celebrate radio and its importance to people everywhere. Listening to English speaking radio programmes and podcasts is a great way to improve your English. We thought we’d celebrate World Radio day by giving you some useful tips for listening to the radio in English.

Why you should improve your English listening skills

Of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) listening is probably the most important, the one that most students find the most difficult and the one they don’t practise enough outside the classroom. After all, you can’t have a conversation with someone if you can’t understand what they are saying. Understanding spoken English is also crucial to improving your own speaking level and listening to radio programmes and podcasts is a great way to improve your English pronunciation.

Talk radio – a better way to improve your English listening abilities

Listening to music has always been a popular way for language learners to practice listening but talk radio is a far better way to improve your listening ability. You can listen to native speakers talking about topics that are related to your interests and many programmes can be downloaded from the internet so that you can listen whenever you like, wherever you like and as often as you like. 

Listening skills for English qualifications

If you are hoping to do some exams in English, such as Cambridge English qualifications,  then listening to talk radio will also help you to become accustomed to different native speaker accents which will help you in the listening exam. There are a huge variety of spoken English accents all over the world, listening to the radio will help to increase your exposure to these different authentic accents which is vital to improving your listening and understanding more of what you hear. Listening to programmes on a variety of topics such as nature, film, interviews and discussions will also help you in any listening exams.

Active Listening 

Having the radio on in the background while you are doing other tasks is a great way to increase the amount of time that you are listening to English but make sure you also set aside a little time to concentrate on what you are listening to. Active listening for just 10 minutes every day will improve your understanding of spoken English and will also help with your English speaking fluency and pronunciation. For those 10 minutes, make sure you are concentrating on trying to understand what is being said and how it is being said. Take notice of new vocabulary, new phrases, different accents and the intonation of the speakers. 

10 tips for getting the most out of your English Listening practice

  1. Listen regularly. Try to spend at least 10 minutes a day listening to something that interests you. If you aren’t interested in what you are listening to then you might give up and stop listening.
  2. As your English listening skills improve,  gradually increase the time you spend listening in English.
  3. Try listening at the same time every day. This will help you to develop a habit and you won’t forget to do it. 
  4. Don’t just put the radio on in the background. Concentrate on what you are listening to – just for 10 minutes.
  5. If you find a programme you like, listen to it regularly. You’ll get to know the presenters and enjoy it even more.
  6. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything, just concentrate on understanding the main ideas. The more you listen the better you will get at understanding the details.
  7. If you aren’t very confident in your listening skills then listen to a programme that is designed for English language learners at your level. The speakers will usually speak more slowly so you will have more time to understand what they are saying.
  8. Podcasts and radio programmes which are specifically designed for English learners often come with a written version of the text that you can download. Read the text while you listen then listen again without reading.
  9. If possible, download the programme so that you can listen to it again. If you listen to the same programme several times you will notice new things each time you listen.
  10. Write down any new vocabulary or expressions you hear. Go to an online dictionary and check the meaning of anything that stops you understanding the main ideas of what you are listening to. Most online dictionaries also let you check the pronunciation of a word. 

Tomorrow on the blog we’ll have a list of great radio programmes and podcasts that you might like to try. Of course the best way to improve your English is to do a course. If you are interested in joining any of our courses then click here for more information.

We hope to see you in class one day!