How to study listening
Recorded at Step Two level
Here are some hints for how to study listening. We hope they are helpful.
1. Listen regularly. Regularly means listen every day. Listening 30 minutes a day for a week — 3 hours and 30 minutes — is more effective than listening on one day for 6 hours. Listening three times in one day for 10 minutes each time is better than listening once a day for 30 minutes. Our brains can only absorb so much information at one time.
2. Listen to a variety of things. Just like you do different exercises in sports, you need to do different kinds of listening. Try listening to:
A. NHK English conversation programs on radio and TV
B. English radio stations if you receive them
C. English radio on the Internet
D. English movies — no Japanese subtitles. We automatically read them; try English subtitles!
E. English TV shows — no Japanese subtitles. We automatically read them; try English subtitles!
3. Try to find things to listen to that interest you. You will probably study more if you study something that interests you.
4. Do big picture listening. Big picture is TV shows and movies. Try to understand the big picture of what is happening. Avoid thinking about the little details. If you understand very little, try to keep listening. Just keep listening for 10 minutes or so the first time. You will get used to the listening. Then, listen a little more the second time. Increase your time day by day. If you really want to improve your listening, stop watching TV in Japanese. Just watch in English. Big picture listening is important! If you do not have the chance to spend much time abroad, hours and hours of TV and movies and radio in English will make a difference.
5. Do little picture listening too. Little picture listening focuses on individual points. NHK English lessons are an example of little picture listening.
6. Remember both big and little picture listening are important. Be sure to do both on a regular basis. Even doing little picture for 10 minutes and big picture for 10 minutes each day would be a start to significantly improving your listening ability. If you can make more time, that is even better.
Remember that it is important how you study and what you study, but it is also very important how often you study. Regular practice is the key to your English language improvement.