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....
A brilliant resource! It has lots of different short videos on a range of topics. For example, check out the following link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25750283
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. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/video_and_audio/video/
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.
The TED website is a treasure waiting to be found! So, go and have a look. www.ted.com/talks
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?
But why's it important?
Improving your understanding of spoken English can only be a good thing. So, have a look at these sites and improve YOUR English!