Bitesize Episode 8 - How To Improve Your English Listening Skills

Apr 6 / Charlie Baxter

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By Charlie Baxter

The Bitesize Episodes

What's this episode about?

In this episode Charlie gets together with Pete from Aussie English to give you their best tips on how to improve your English listening skills.
This one is a bit different to the usual episode as it is focused on learning tips rather than cultural aspects of the Brits but we hope you like them as we have a mini series of them coming your way!
Meet today's guest

Pete

from Aussie English

Pete's goal is simple: to help you rapidly improve your English whilst learning about Australian history, culture, current affairs, and more!

He does that through his Podcast, YouTube Channel, social media and his Academy over on his website.
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EPISODE BLOG ENTRY

7 Top Tips To Improve Your Listening Skills

Choose content that is at your level.

From the research that I've read, when you're reading or listening to content you should aim to be consuming content where you understand 90% or more. In fact, in an ideal world, it should be 98% understandable. 

Why is that?

Well any less understandable and the process is slow and frustrating but any more understandable and you won’t be exposing yourself to anything new.

So try and find content at your level but remember as you progress the content you use needs to continue to get harder.

So stay out of your comfort zone, keep moving forward.


Find content where you understand 90% or more of the words or phrases that are used.

Make sure that you raise your level of understanding as you progress.
Stay out of your comfort zone!
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Use a 5-step method when consuming content

Finding content that is exactly 98 percent understandable is obviously going to be quite challenging.

So we recommend using a five step method to improve your listening practise that will allow you to use content in an enjoyable way that is around 90 percent understandable to begin with. 
Get Charlie's FREE ebook on a 5-Step Method To Listen To Podcasts HERE
Check out my 5-Day Next Level English Course HERE.Find content where you understand 90% or more of the words or phrases that are used.

Make sure that you raise your level of understanding as you progress.
Stay out of your comfort zone!
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Find content that has multiple speakers

Find content that you can consume and study where you have multiple speakers speaking together at the same time. 

Why is this so important? 

It's very rare that you're just going to be speaking by yourself and not have someone else around you. Unless you like talking to yourself like me!

So find real life conversations between multiple people where they aren’t finishing their phrases, thinking spontaneously and creating sentences that are long and convoluted.

There's a big difference between spontaneous spoken English in conversations and say, reading out what's been written on a page. 

So use things like podcast interviews or live discussions or reality TV shows.

They're also a really good way of improving your fluency as you can mine this content for natural phrases that are used by people when interacting and having conversations with one another. 

If you want to learn more about this, make sure that you check out our video on building fluency in English.


Find content where you understand 90% or more of the words or phrases that are used.

Make sure that you raise your level of understanding as you progress.
Stay out of your comfort zone!
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Focus on the message, not the individual words

As an adult, we have this tendency to consciously focus on things at a more microscopic level when learning something new.

While this is good for developing certain skills quickly it makes it harder to do things like understand the general meaning of what somebody says. 

We also really notice the words or parts of communication that we don't understand. 

Whereas a native would just skim over the word they don't know and through repetitive exposure in context they would get the meaning of the word and along with it a native builds this gut feeling about the usage of the phrase.

So focussing on understanding the message of what you're reading or listening to as a non-native learner will help you understand the language more naturally and more effectively than trying to understand each individual phrase.


Find content where you understand 90% or more of the words or phrases that are used.

Make sure that you raise your level of understanding as you progress.
Stay out of your comfort zone!
access the free content

Get the FREE worksheet to not forget all these useful tips.

Enjoy!

Use content with different English accents & dialects

Listen to a diverse range of accents and dialects in English. 


A lot of students say to me,


“I have so much trouble with the native accents and dialects. What can I do to improve this?” 


I then ask how much native content have you been consuming or studying in the past? And they'll say not much. There's your problem! 


Make sure that you consume content from a diverse range of accents and dialects in English. 


Doing this is also going to help boost your confidence as you’ll be able to understand a great deal more people. 


Don't forget to check out our video on how to speak English confidently and how to build English confidence.



Find content where you understand 90% or more of the words or phrases that are used.
Make sure that you raise your level of understanding as you progress.
Stay out of your comfort zone!
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Connect your English study with your PASSION

You can simply read articles, watch documentaries and listen to music that interest you in English. 


But to go beyond that you could take part in a hobby you like in English, start a new interest altogether in English. 


A new language very often brings about a very different version of you. 


You might enjoy things in English that you don't in your language. 


Join a community of native speakers who are passionate about this activity and you’ll find that they will want to converse with you a lot more because you share a passion of theirs rather than finding natives to speak with through asking them for “speaking practice”.


You'll also get a lot more authentic practise with native speakers if you go about your studies with this mindset. 


So, connect your language learning journey with a passion that is old or new.



Find content where you understand 90% or more of the words or phrases that are used.
Make sure that you raise your level of understanding as you progress.
Stay out of your comfort zone!
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Speak to BOTH non-native & native language speakers

It is incredibly important to speak with both non-native speakers of a language and native speakers at the same time. 


Did you ever stop to appreciate that there are actually more non-native speakers of English in the world than there are native speakers?


So it is incredibly likely that you're going to come into contact with a huge number of non-native speakers of English.


So how can you improve your listening comprehension of accents from native speakers and non-native speakers alike? 

One way is to attend language meet ups, both physically and virtually. You’ll meet people that are both non-native and native speakers of English. 


I think this is one of the most fun parts about learning any language, whether or not it's English.



Find content where you understand 90% or more of the words or phrases that are used.
Make sure that you raise your level of understanding as you progress.
Stay out of your comfort zone!
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DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR TO YOU?

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1. You struggle to understand British people, their humour and accents!

2. You find it hard to measure your progress when learning English?

3. You want to learn to speak with confidence in front of British people?

4. You find it hard to keep up with multiple speakers in a conversation.

5. You’re looking for an easy to use step-by-step plan to help you improve your English?

If you answered yes, then you already know how challenging it is to keep improving your English after reaching a conversational level!

Don't worry! There's a solution and I think you're going to love it!

What students are saying about The Academy

Student reviews
"Charlie's podcast and academy is easy to follow and helps me remember every word he teaches by following the quizzes and exercises. He is such a good teacher with specific plans for his own lessons who knows the difficulties of a non-native english learner like me."
Hsu Lai
Pharmacist, Myanmar
"The Academy is a very good place to be in! It makes you naturally gravitate towards fluency! Thanks so much for the castle you are wisely building brick after brick, the Academy is just great."
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Giuseppe
Italy
"It's evident that Charlie has put so much effort into The Academy and I will definitely recommend The British English Podcast to anyone wanting to improve their English and to my subscribers on Instagram! The Academy is really easy to use and it has a lot of useful tasks."
Anya
English Teacher, Russia
Charlie is very good at showing people when the new words and phrases can be used. It helps me to really apply the phrases in the future. The rise and fall of his voice also makes the content more interesting as I can feel the different emotions from him.

Judy
Taiwan

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Transcript of SAMPLE Premium Podcast Player

Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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About Your Teacher

Charlie Baxter

Teacher, Podcast Host, YouTuber
Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

It focuses on British culture, informal expressions, accent and history that is all unique to the UK.

Charlie has spent 6000+ hours teaching intermediate-advanced students since 2014 privately on Skype and has seen a lot of different styles of learning and while he believes there will never be a single CORRECT way to improve your English there are a large number of methods that people use that do waste people's time and prevent them from improving quickly.

So Charlie decided to create The Academy because he believes he knows a VERY effective way to improve your English quickly and enjoyably.
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