Posted by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica on 02/09/2018

3 Ways to Improve Your Students' Listening Skills

3 Ways to Improve Your Students' Listening Skills

Probably one of the most difficult skills, listening can be challenging for some English students.  Follow these three tips to improve your students' listening skills.

3 Important ESL Classroom Techniques

1-Videos, TV shows and Movies

Expose your students to videos, TV shows and movies made by native English speakers for native English speakers.  This will give them authentic material and train their ear for accents, idioms and phrasal verbs used regularly.  Teach them how to pay attention to the facial expressions and body language used in order to better understand cultural context.  Try watching without subtitles, and if you insist on using them, they should  be in English, not their native language.  If possible, re-watch to see if they understand more the second time.  Show them how to take notes of anything they don't understand and research the meaning later.

2-Podcasts or Radio Broadcasts

Whether we like it or not, many times when our students are asked to listen to someone speaking English it is over the phone and they are not able to rely on the body language.  Two of the best ways to practice this are podcasts and radio broadcasts.  Podcasts are pre-recorded audio files that can be downloaded or streamed via the Internet.  Find something your students are interested in (business, politics, religion, sports, etc.) and search until you find one the length you have the class time for.  Radio can be streamed live from all parts of the world today on the Internet as well.  If you have access to Itunes or the Internet, you have millions of FREE options at your fingertips.

Regardless if you are watching or just listening, dictations are an excellent way to test your learners' listening skills.  As the students listen, they need to write down what the speaker is saying, word for word.  Replay the audio or re-read the paragraph as many times as necessary for the students to fill in any missing pieces.  Then you can turn the subtitles on or share the script to check how they did!  We recommend checking out Coach Shane's Dictations on youtube.com for lots of practice!  He has hundreds of videos and explains everything to  you, step by step. 

3-Spend Time with Native Speakers

Finally, depending on where you live, help your students find opportunities to join a club or sports team that includes native English speakers.  Find groups on Facebook for expats in your community to see what kind of events they offer and if your students  would be welcomed.  Chances are that your language institute offers programs or language exchanges, so ask if your students can participate.  Again, exposure to many accents and consistently hearing expressions and phrases used by native speakers is priceless. 

Developing your students' listening skills takes time and effort, so make it fun!  Want to find out more about teaching English learners?  Contact us and ask about our onsite TEFL course in Costa Rica!

3 Ways to Improve Your Students' Reading Skills

3 Tips to Improve Your Students' Speaking Skills

3 Ways to Improve Your Students' Writing Skills

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