HELPFUL TIPS AND RESOURCES FOR ADULT ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
Learning how to listen to another language can be quite challenging - but is absolutely essential. There are many ways to practice this skill.
One excellent way to practice your English listening skills is to watch videos and movies with subtitles. This is an effective and entertaining way for practicing listening for any proficiency level.
Another, more difficult method of practicing listening is to watch programs, especially things like the news, with or without subtitles. Newscasters tend to speak very quickly, so this can be quite challenging.
Finally, one of the most difficult ways of practicing listening is by listening to radio programs or podcasts. Not being able to see the people when they are speaking makes it significantly more complicated to understand.
It is very important to remember that it is not necessary to understand every word. The goal should be to keep up with the general context of the conversation. If there is a word here and there that you do not understand, that's fine! It will get easier the more you practice. In addition, the more you listen to English in whatever form, the more you will begin to understand the melody of the language. Too, the more you listen and read, the more you will pick up on certain grammatical rules and constructs without actually studying them!
The important thing is to keep practicing. Here on this page, you will first find interesting videos to watch with links that include transcripts as well. At the bottom of the page, you will also find links to various podcasts and radio programs to practice with. Please note, I have found some excellent podcasts for French learners of English, so make sure to scroll down to the bottom!
Practice Listening by Watching Videos
An excellent way to practice your English listening skills is to watch videos and movies with subtitles.
First, depending on the length and complexity of the subject, you may want to watch the video with subtitles in your native language. Do not do this more than once; the idea is simply to listen and verify that you understand the general points being said. After this, switch the subtitles to English, so you can listen and read what is being said. This will allow you to hear what is really being said, even if it is being said quickly. Once you listen a few times with the subtitles, try listening with no subtitles. Because you are now familiar with the content, you will be able to listen to accent, vocabulary, and nuance.
TED Talks are an excellent resource because you can find videos on almost any subject and most talks have transcripts in many languages. Some of my favorite TED Talks are below. (NOTE: It is not possible to add a video directly from many sites, which means that if you want to read the transcripts, please click the link below each video.)
Video About Listening
Videos About Language
Videos About Happiness
Videos About Attention & Stress
Videos About Strength & Adventure
Practice by Listening to Podcasts
Understanding any language is more complicated when we cannot see the person who is speaking, which is why listening to podcasts and radio programs is such excellent practice. Don't worry if you don't understand everything; this completely normal! Just keep listening.
If you are a more of a beginner, just listen to the melody and try to understand the general point of the conversation. For the more advanced students, listen for words that you don't know, so you can continue to improve your vocabulary.
Apprendre l'Anglais Avec AnglaisCours Club
I strongly recommend this podcast for all of my students, especially the beginner, pre-intermediate, and intermediate levels. It is has over 300 episodes about a multitude of English grammatical lessons for French speakers learning English.
The narrator has an English accent and speaks in French and English, offering detailed explanations about that particular topic. Check it out!
This podcast focuses more on expressions and practical vocabulary than Apprendre l'Anglais Avec AnglaisCours Club. The narrator speaks with an English accent and speaking in both French and English during the sessions. There are 76 episodes to chose from.
British Council Podcasts
The British Council website is an excellent resource for English Language Learners. Their podcast series (link above) are designed for different English proficiency levels, so be sure to select whichever level you feel most comfortable with. Each episode includes a transcript, too, which is very helpful. You will also find exercises, to help you make sure that you understood what you just heard. You do have to click on a few links to get to each episode, but it is very easy and well worth the effort.
BBC Radio - The English We Speak
This is an excellent podcast series, presented by BBC Radio, is designed for more advanced speakers. It has a multitude of episodes on various slang words or phrases. It does not offer transcripts. You have the option of either listening to each three-minute episode. They are really very clever and I recommend them!