ESL Listening Tip: Listen for 1 Specific Thing | English Writing

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ESL Listening: Listen for one Specific Thing

Choose an audio clip that is over five minutes long and listen carefully for one specific aspect of the language. For example, you could listen for any of the following things:

Sentence/Word Stress
Subject-verb agreement

ESL Listening Quick Tips

ESL Listening Quick Tip #1: Choose only 1 thing to listen for! If you try to listen for too many things, it will be overwhelming.

ESL Listening Quick Tip #2: If you find that five minutes is too long and your attention starts to wander, start shorter. Like exercising a muscle, you must build up endurance.

An ESL Listening Activity

Here is one activity you can use to practice with English Central (like YouTube for language learners) or any podcast with a transcript. Or, use Breaking News English, if you don’t look at the transcript first!

1. Choose a video or audio clip.

2. Look at the title and think about what the topic is likely to be and what vocabulary you might hear.

3. Listen or watch (without subtitles or transcripts!) several times. Write down the words you are focusing on. For example, if you are focusing on stress, you will write down the stressed words. If you are focusing on articles, write down the noun phrases you hear (“a man” or “the storm”).

4. You can stop and check what you have written using the transcripts or subtitles.

5. If you are using Breaking News English, you can continue listening a few more times, until you are ready to complete the listening activities for a more complete listening study session. Alternatively, you could use the dictation activity and listen very closely to extremely short segments of text.

Need more ESL Listening Tips?

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