continueing from the last topics…
Improving your listening skill
Your English is progressing well, your grammar is now familiar, the reading comprehension is no problem, you’re communicating quite fluently, but listening is still a problem!
Does this situation seem familiar to you?
You’re not alone !. Listening comprehension is probably the most difficult task for almost all learners of English as a second language. So, now you know you are not alone. The most important thing is to listen, and that means as often as possible, so you need to find listening resources. This is where the internet comes really handy. Most of you probably have the RealPlayer on your computer (or you can download it from RealMedia.com). It allows you to listen to RealAudio and use the internet like a radio station. Many sites now also provide listening using the Windows Media Player or even have their own player on the site. You can begin to listen to English as it is used in everyday life. The possibilities are almost unlimited, you can listen to BBC, CNN, Fox News or ESPN radio, Manchester United radio etc.
Once you begun to listen on a regular basis, you might still be frustrated by limited understanding. What should you do ?…
*Accept the fact that you are not going to understand everything.
*Keep your cool/stay relaxed when you do not understand, even if you continue to not understand for a long time.
*Do not translate into Indonesian.
*Listen to the general idea of the conversation, don’t concentrate on detail until you have understood the main idea.
I remember the problems I had in understanding spoken English when I first went to the States. In the beginning, when I didn’t understand a word, I insisted on translating it in my mind. This approach usually confused me even more. Then, after the first six months I discovered two extremely important facts:
*Translating creates a barrier between the listener and the speaker.
*Most people repeat themselves
By remaining calm, I noticed that even if I spaced out, I could usually understand what the speaker had said. I had discovered some of the most important things about listening comprehension:
Translating creates a barrier between yourself and the person who is speaking
While you are listening to another person speaking English, the temptation is to immediately translate into Indonesian. This temptation becomes much stronger when you hear a word you don’t understand. This is only natural as we want to understand everything that is said. However, when you translate into Indonesian, you are taking the focus of your attention away from the speaker and concentrating on the translation process taking place in your brain. This would be fine if you can put the speaker on hold. In real life however, the person continues talking while you translate. This situation obviously lead to less understanding. I have discovered that translation leads to a kind of block in my brain which sometimes doesn’t allow me to understand anything at all.
Most people repeat themselves
Think for a moment about your family, friends and colleagues, when they speak in Indonesian do they repeat themselves? I don’t mean word by word, I mean the general idea. If they are like most people I have met, they probably do. That means that whenever you listen to someone speaking, it is very likely that he or she will repeat the information, giving you a second or even third chance to understand what has been said. By remaining calm, allowing yourself to not understand, and not translating while listening, your brain is free to concentrate on the most important thing: understanding English in English
*Listen to something you enjoy
Probably the greatest advantage about using the internet to improve your listening skills is that you can choose what you would like to listen to and how many times you would like to listen to it. By listening to something you enjoy, you are also likely to know a lot more of the vocabulary required.
*Listen for keywords
Use keywords or key phrases to help you understand the general ideas. If you understand “Singapore”, “business trip”, “last year” you can assume that the person is speaking about a business trip to Singapore last year. This may seem obvious to you, but remember that understanding the main idea will help you to understand the detail as the person continues to speak.
*Listen to context
Let’s imagine that your English speaking friend says:“I bought this great tuner at Metro. It was really cheap and now I can finally listen to BBC radio broadcast.” You may not understand what a tuner is, if you focus on the word tuner you might become frustrated. However, if you think in context you probably will understand. For example; bought is past tense of buy, listen is no problem and radio is obvious. Now you understand: He bought something -the tuner – to listen to the radio. A tuner must be some kind of radio! This is a simple example, but it demonstrates what you need to focus on: not the word that you do not understand, but the words that you do understand.
It might seem to you that my ideas on how to listen encourage you to not understand everything. This is absolutely correct. One hundred percent understanding is something to work towards and not to expect of you now. Listening needs a great amount of practice and patience. Allow yourself the luxury of not becoming nervous when you do not understand, and you will be surprised by how quickly you do begin to understand. Listening often is the most important way to improve your listening skills.
Enjoy the listening possibilities offered by the internet and remember to relax.
I hope it’s helping us to studying and learning more about english.