Why you SHOULD use Authentic Listening Materials

One of the best ways to hear real spoken English and improve your English listening skills is by watching TV series, soaps and films. 

If you don’t live in an English-speaking country then this is the best way to hear real English such as; collocations, colloquial expressions, idioms, slang and even regional dialects in real context.

You should be using them as part of your English practice regularly if your serious about improving.
To be confident in your listening abilities and understand native speakers, then you must practice with authentic audios like films, TV shows and dramas etc. .   

In this post, we will look at how you can use these types of listening materials correctly to help develop your listening skills. I Love teaching my students the value of using real English materials, as this is more so when it comes to developing their listening skills.

I’m sure that you have a strong desire to understand native speakers, and using real audios or videos with native speakers is the fastest way to achieve that desire.

The main problem with English films and TV shows is that they can be quite challenging at first. Many students often give up when watching a film or TV show. This could be because it’s hard to follow what’s being said, or you are simply overwhelmed by the language.

However, TV shows or soaps are great because they really can help open up your knowledge of the language and help you learn lots of new ways to express yourself.   

The Best way to approach TV Series and Films

Choose a scene from a TV show or film. You can find these on YouTube.

With your chosen scene, you should it watch once all the way through without any subtitles and listen for the general idea or the main context. Don’t worry about understanding everything, you will soon enough. 

Once you have watched the scene all the way through answer these questions  

  • who and what is it about?    
  • what is the most important information?    
  • how does it begin and end?

After answering the questions, you can then focus on the language. It’s now time to listen for more understanding. 

What vocabulary can you hear? 
What words do you understand? 
Make notes on any words you hear and understand. 

You can pause the video as much as you like to allow you time to record any words or phrases. . 
Then based on your notes and the vocabulary you have recorded, think, what more do you understand about the scene? Can you summarise what is happening? Hopefully, this will help you gain further understanding of the scene.

The third time to you watch, you now want to try to catch the words and phrases you don’t understand. This time you can use the subtitles but in English of course. 

Again you may want to pause the video to allow you time to record the vocabulary. You can use the subtitles to help you to spell any new and unfamiliar words and phrases. 

Now it’s time to process the new vocabulary. Now you don’t want to reach for the dictionary just yet, you need to first try to understand the meaning of the new word or phrase through context.

So in what context was it used in the video? Can this give you a glue to the meaning of the new word or phrase? Do this first, then you can check in the dictionary to clarify the definition. 

Each time you watch the scene you build on your understanding of it more and more. To consolidate further what you have learnt through the clip you could then either speak about it or write a short review using the new words and phrases you have learnt. 

If you try to keep in mind this approach to listening to TV Shows or films you can make English listening much more manageable and effective.    

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