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Most English learners struggle with improving their English listening skills.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, read our guide below!

Working on English listening skills is the most common problem-area for English learners. Often times, students might have a high level of grammar and writing skills, but when it comes to English listening skills or speaking skills it’s a whole new story. The first thing to remember is that improving English listening skills is difficult for most students- if you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Once you’ve calmed down, read our tips on how to improve your English listening skills.

1. Avoid passive listening, practice active listening

Passive listening is when you simply listen and hope to develop your English listening skills by absorbing the language through hours of exposure to the language. The problem is that if you’re listening to recording or watching a movie, you’re too relaxed to improve your English listening skills. Learning occurs when you’re not too nervous, but not too relaxed either – so to improve your English listening skills in this way, give yourself a task to do while you watch the movie (make a list of common phrases or topic-words)

2. Overhear an English conversation

Trying to follow a real conversation between native speakers is the best challenge to improve your English listening skills. If you live in an English speaking country like Malta, take an afternoon stroll and try to look for an English conversation. When you start to hear English, slow down and listen, and put your English listening skills to a real test by trying to figure out the topic discussed. It won’t be easy, but it’s practical, and fun.

3. Be interactive!

Rather than just listening to someone’s conversation, take it a step further and join it. Try to find conversation groups that are purposely organised by English learners to develop English listening skills. When you’re talking to people, you listen more carefully, and you think about how you’re going to reply. Find a job that pushes you to use your English listening skills on a daily basis, like being a shop assistant, a receptionist, or working in catering.

4. Practice English with native speakers

Practicing with real native speakers will boost your English listening skills and improve your rhythm and stress when speaking. The best way to improve your English listening skills is to practice having social conversations with a native English teacher a few times a week.

5. Visit Malta, Join BELS

Considering a trip to an English speaking country? When studying at BELS, you’d have the opportunity to live in a residence with other students, or an English-speaking host family, in a town (St. Paul’s Bay) with a large expat community. You’d have no choice but to improve your English listening skills! BELS also offer one-on-one lessons with a qualified teacher who can help you with English listening skills in the best way for you.

Find out how our English courses can help you develop your listening skills – get in touch on i[email protected] for more information. 

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