#14. Listening is key
Updated: Sep 20, 2022
You might be wondering why I chose this as the topic for a new post, so obvious it seems that listening is crucial when learning a new language.
And, yes, you need to listen to the teacher, to the actors in the series you're watching, to the news anchor on television, to the podcast host, etc. In fact, I tell my students that listening means concentrating hard on what the person is saying, so hard, it's almost feels like growing a second pair of ears, because listening to someone speak in a language you're learning, means having an opportunity to not only practise listening comprehension, but to recycle what they've said when talking next. This can happen during the conversation itself.
Some students seem to think to that recycling language amounts to cheating, or at least to not making a real effort, because they think they should already know the language before speaking. But most of the language is learnt when you actively use it, when you're in a conversation or watching/listening to a programme, not in advance, in theory, or on paper. Practising sentences that way to begin with makes sense. It helps you get started but, at some point, you need to remove the training wheels, take a chance, and cycle without them!
Launching oneself into a conversation using a language you're learning can feel scary, but it can also be fun, if you accept the fact that you learn as you speak and mistakes are unavoidable.
Secondly, if all you do when you're meant to be listening and concentrating hard, is worry about what the person is saying or what you're going to say next, or both, then you're not listening! And you're missing out on a learning opportunity.
Listening is a key skill, which takes time, patience, and perseverance. The more regularly you practise listening, the quicker the fog is going to clear and sentences are going to make sense. You can't rush the process and you can't ignore it either!
More about my teaching approach
Don't hesitate to send me your questions
#1. Is it too late to learn a language?
#2. Not knowing the word is not the end of the conversation
#3. Is learning vocabulary lists a good idea?
#4. Should I use bilingual books?
#5. Practising all four skills equally
#6. On the importance of making mistakes
#7. You know more than you think you do
#8. Can everyone learn a language?
#9. With or without subtitles?
#10. Should I use a dictionary?
#11. What's the main obstacle when learning a language?
#12. There's no such thing as perfect sentences
#13. Learning French when English is your mother tongue