This means that a good way and an important component of learning English is listening. Listening to English (or any other language) is “vital” if a student wishes to improve his or her English skills. It’s a basic element of communication. Without it, verbal communication can’t really exist.

So, what to do to improve your listening skills? Once again, anything you do is good. Don’t “dismiss” anything. The most important thing is that you do it. In the past we mentioned that “just getting started is half the battle”. Set yourself some goals and then spend your time reaching them. It’s very helpful to write your goals down. For example, tell yourself that you are going to watch 1 or 2 hours of TV a week in English.

This brings us to how. How can I improve my English listening skills? What can I do?

As mentioned above, try watching TV in English. This is probably the best way of learning listening. It’s also “quite possibly” the funnest way. It’s easy. Find a TV show that you like and start watching it. If it seems too difficult, you can see if your TV has a “subtitle” function. If it does, use this function so that you can read the words as you are watching the show. If your TV doesn’t have this function, you might try finding a TV show on the internet that comes with subtitles. Or, you can purchase a TV show series on DVD. Or, you might be able to purchase a show on the internet and then download it.

You might try watching the news in English, if this is your interest. I have to caution you, though. “Often times” the news can be quite difficult to understand. And, students have said that it’s just “over their heads”. So, give it a try and don’t be so easily discouraged. The more you do it, the better you will get.

You could also join a school which offers an English listening class. Our College is thinking about opening a special class for English Learners to practice their listening. This course can be fun and, of course, will really help to improve an English learner’s listening skills. Joining English classes in a reputable school is also a good way to make new friends.

Start listening to western music. What “genre” of music do you like? Find an artist that you like in your preferred genre and then start watching his or her videos on the internet. Or, purchase one of their CDs.

Try to make a native English speaking friend. There are many ways of doing this. You might try looking on the internet for websites that help you find people looking for language exchanges. You could teach someone your “mother tongue” as they teach you English. Join a sports team or sports club. This is a great way to meet new people and make friends.

So, in conclusion, be creative and don’t limit yourself. There are lots and lots of ways to learn English listening. Just set your mind to it and then do it.

Alan Bruhn

English Teacher at Canadian Education College, Singapore