Suggestions For Powerful Listening and Excellent Speaking
1. Practice “Narrow Listening”
“Narrow listening” means listening to many things about the same topic. This method is more powerful
than trying to listen to many different kinds of things. Students who listen to similar things learn
faster and speak better than students who listen to different kinds of things.
For example, you can choose one speaker and find many things by him. Listen to all of his podcasts,
audio books, and speeches. This is powerful because all speakers have favorite vocabulary
and grammar. They naturally repeat these many times. By listening to many things by the same
person, you automatically get a lot of vocabulary repetition. You learn faster and deeper!
Another example is to choose one topic to focus on. For example, you could read an easy book, listen
to the same audio book, listen to a podcast about the book, and watch the movie.
I did this with my class. We read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Then we
listened to the audio book. Then we watched (and listened to) the movie. Then we listened to interviews
with actors in the movie. My students learned a lot of vocabulary in a short time, and their
speaking improved very quickly.
2.Divide Your Listening Time
Which is better: to listen for two hours without a break, or to divide that time during the day? Well,
dividing your listening time is best.
By dividing your time throughout the day, you remember more and learn faster. So its much better
to listen 30 minutes in the morning, then 30 minutes in the car or train, then 30 minutes coming
home from work, then 30 minutes before sleep. In fact, this is the exact schedule I recommend to
3. Use an iPod or MP3 Player
iPods are fantastic. You can put a big listening library on one. Then you can carry your English lessons
everywhere. You can learn English while walking, while shopping, in the car, in a train, while
With an iPod or MP3 player, you don’t have to worry about CDs
4.Read and Listen at the Same Time
Listening and Reading together are very powerful. While you listen to something, also read it. This
will improve your pronunciation.
Reading while listening also helps you understand more difficult material. Read and listen to learn
faster. After you do this a few times, put away the text and just listen. You will understand a lot
more and you will improve faster. Always try to find both audio and text materials.