Blog April 23, 2014 by

St Giles

The Internet and Authentic Listening Practise

Getting really good authentic listening practice has never been easier! In the Internet age we have access to many sites that can help develop listening skills and increase vocabulary.

So, how do you use your laptop, tablet or smart phone? Mainly for social media sites? Well, why not access some other sites and see how they can provide you with opportunities to improve your listening?

Often higher level students, examination students, and business English students feel they don’t get enough practice in listening to a range of native speakers with different accents. But there are certain websites that are great for this. Here are a couple to try….

  • The BBC

A brilliant resource! It has lots of different short videos on a range of topics. For example, check out the following link

This is part of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 series and you can listen to five native speakers taking about what freedom means to them. All the clips are short and have a small written summary about them. These might be challenging, but they are a good way to get used to listening to native speakers and hearing different accents.

Also on the BBC this link will take you to a ‘library’ of audio and video clips

The clips are in different categories (business, science, entertainment, technology, health, the UK, the World) and they are short and easy to access. Different accents – national and regional, different topics and a range of vocabulary.

  • TED

The TED website is a treasure waiting to be found! So, go and have a look.

Most of the talks are short, between 4 and 20 minutes, and there are a range of accents to be heard. You can go to the home page and browse the talks using the search facilities – search by topic, by length, by rating. Each talk has a full transcript after it so you can check out any vocabulary you don’t know, or read while you listen so you can follow the speaker’s stress and intonation patterns.

So, how can these two sites help you?

• They offer authentic listening practice

• They introduce you to new vocabulary

• You hear structures and vocabulary used in context

• They are interesting and often funny.

But why’s it important?

• In the Cambridge and IELTS exams you get a range of different accents in the listening papers

• In the streets, shops, restaurants, bars in the UK and the US you hear a range of accents

• In international business you communicate with people using English as a first or second language in a range of accents.

Improving your understanding of spoken English can only be a good thing. So, have a look at these sites and improve YOUR English!

If you would like to learn English in the UK, come and visit our English school in Eastbourne!  Please e-mail us at  for more information.