29Improve Your Listening

by Danny K. Howard, EAP Associate Director

Listening is very important part of language. When you go abroad, you will spend almost 50% of your day listening to other people, listening to TV, radio, music and other things. A curious student at the demo lesson last week asked me, “How can I improve my listening?” In fact, this question is a very common one. To answer this great question, I have good news and bad news. I will begin with the bad news.

he bad news is...there is no quick way to improve listening ability (it takes a lot of time and effort).

Now, the good news! I know a great way to improve your listening a lot over time. Let’s first begin with some general advice.

General Advice

To improve your listening...

  • Try to listen to English at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Pay attention to the large meaning (not individual words).
  • It’s better to listen at a normal speed (do not slow down the tape or CD).
  • Repeat the listening activity (once is usually not enough).
  • Find listening materials at your level (if you completely understand or don’t understand at all, it may be too easy or too hard).

Danny’s Listening Idea!

Find a listening book with a CD & transcript and try this idea at least 3 times a week! More is better.

  • First, listen to the material. Just try to understand the main ideas.
  • Second, listen again for details.
  • Third, write a short summary of what you understand.
    (for how to write a summary look at the Study Tip for 4/1/05)
  • Fourth, compare your summary to the transcript. Are they similar? Do they share the main ideas?
  • Next, listen a third time and read along with the transcript as you listen.
  • Finally, listen a last time without the transcript. Do you understand more? You should!

Some recommended listening books

These books can be bought at Kinokuniya or any large bookstore.

Low Levels:
Dr. English’s Listening Check-up (1,600 yen)
Middle Levels:
Shadowing Vol. 1 & 2 (1,800 yen)
High Levels:
BBC World (1,800 yen); VOA (1,800 yen); Live from New York (1,500 yen); Live on Campus (1,500 yen)

All of these books have CDs and transcripts with them!