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✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/english-listening-practice-20-min-listening/
Learning English can be frustrating and time consuming. With Adept English, you can learn English with ease. We offer interesting and engaging lessons that are perfect for English listening practice. With Adept English, you can become fluent in English in no time. So, if you want to become fluent in English, Adept English has all the free resources you will ever need!
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- Enthusiasm: A strong feeling of excitement and interest.
- Sustain: To keep something going over time.
- Situation: What is happening at a certain time and place.
- Dishwasher: A machine that washes dishes.
- Instructor: A person who teaches something.
- Superficial: Only concerned with the surface or obvious things.
- Challenge: A difficult task that tests your skills or abilities.
- Brilliant: Very smart or very good at something.
Hi there. Lots of you ask me 'What's the best way to learn English?' And I always say 'Learn through listening' and 'Practise every day'. So you ask 'How long?' And 'What practice? What should I do to learn English?' I say that if you do just 20 minutes a day, you will see good results, improvements in quite a short time.
It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important..
⭐ Arthur Conan Doyle
And I know this because many of you message me to tell me about your progress using this method. So in this podcast, I'm gonna give you my tips, my suggestions for your daily 20 minutes English learning practice.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
So what's the idea behind doing a daily 20 minutes of English learning practice? Well, if you want to learn a skill, practising 'little and often' is the most important thing. My mother used to say that she liked to eat 'little and often', and she lived to a grand old age. However, science has advanced and perhaps tells us now that eating 'little and often' is not the best way!
It's good to leave gaps in between your eating, called 'fasting', but that 'little and often' idea really is true for language learning.
So many people start to do daily language practice full of enthusiasm, and they may say things like, 'I'm going to do two hours every day of English learning!', or 'I'm going to do an hour every day of English learning'.
The problem with that, it's hard to sustain.
If you're really honest and you put your efforts on a graph, it might look something like that. So it starts off really, really well, but quite quickly. It tails off, and there are days where you don't do your practice, and you can imagine if you were going in this direction, you might soon come to a situation where you were doing very little practice at all!
Two hours a day or an hour a day - that's too much for most people. So I suggest 20 minutes. I think what we're aiming for, if you put it on a graph, it might look more like that. So OK, you've got the occasional gap perhaps, when it's just too busy. But you can imagine that these green bars are gonna carry on along here. And you're going to actually sustain doing 20 minutes a day. It's much more realistic, shall we say.
So 'little and often' is best.
But if you're really busy, you might say to me, 'But Hilary, how do I find that 20 minutes a day? I'm really busy.' And I would suggest you listen to Rule Three of The Seven Rules of Adept English. That says, 'Use your dead time.' Your English language learning practice will consist mostly of listening. So you need a pair of these. These are your friends! And because much of your practice will be listening, it means you can do it while you're doing all those boring tasks, those jobs that us adults have to do. Filling the dishwasher, driving the car, riding on the bus, cooking the dinner, walking the dog, cleaning the bathroom. These are tasks that you can do with your headphones on and you can do your listening practice at the same time. That's a good way of finding spare time.
And if you want to make your English language learning practice a treat, a reward, you could go and lie on the bed and do it, just for 20 minutes. Take time out.
What do you do in that 20 minutes? Well, I would advise most of it is spent listening, at least at the start. When it comes to practising, you get good at what you practise a lot. So if you practise writing English, you get good at writing English. If you practise reading English, you get good at reading English. And that's fine if you want to pass an exam. But if you want to be able to have an English conversation, then that 20 minutes needs to be spent primarily listening, certainly at the start.
You become good at understanding by practising listening.
And there's a lot to learn. There's a lot of words. There's a lot of grammar, different accents. There's difficult pronunciation, tenses. So many things to learn about English. It's hard to do that from a textbook. Our brains are set up to learn language through listening, so that's the best way. That's what I advise you to do.
If your brain is going to be able to understand and speak English in an ordinary conversation, it's gonna need to be quick. And you only get quick at processing English by hearing a lot of it, by listening to a lot of it. And then your understanding is automatic.
Nobody learns words and phrases from hearing them once. You need repetition, you need to hear them over and over again. I played a part in both my daughters learning to drive. And what did I do to help them?
Well, they started off with a proper driving instructor, not me, while they were 'dangerous' early on. Then once they got to a certain level, I allowed them to come and drive my car. And we would go round and round the same route, six or seven times. Repetition gives us a comfort zone inside which we can learn.
Those practices that we did in the car together, help them pass their driving test. And repetition will help you learn the English language much more quickly. This is where using recorded material comes in. You can't do that with English conversation. You can't rewind and have another go. You can't say to someone, 'Oh, 'scuse me. Can we have that conversation over again, then I can improve?' That would be weird. So listening to the same recorded material several times is the best thing here.
So if you do your English language learning practice by listening to a podcast or watching a video, what kind of material do you need?
Three things I have to say here.
The first. It really helps to have a transcript. It really helps to have those written words in front of you at the same time. You may not be able to do it without the written words to begin with. It may be too difficult without. And then you might use the transcript just to look up the odd word that you don't understand. But that transcript is essential.
Secondly, the listening material needs to be at the right level. It's no good if it's too easy, you're not learning anything. And if it's too difficult, you'll just find yourself zoning out and thinking of other things, not really listening. So it's got to be at a level where you understand 70 or 80% of it.
Thirdly, it's gotta be interesting. Your English language learning material, it's got to hold your attention, particularly if you are going to listen to it on repeat.
Much of the material you can find online for English language learners, it's OK, but it's not very interesting. It's a bit superficial, shall we say. They don't really say very much. So it's better to find material that you are interested in, in its own right. That will help you do the repetition that you need to do.
Also, it helps people at first to listen to the same voice. You may be familiar with my voice, and you might find that you can understand me much more easily because you're used to me. That's fine at first. That's just a stage in your learning. But once you're used to my voice, challenge yourself by listening to different voices.
Listen to people with different accents. Don't abandon Adept English, but broaden the material that you listen to. Find other things, other voices that you like to listen to as well.
A photo of a podcast host. It's time to unlock the power of English language communication! Join us today and take your English language journey to the next level!
Gradually raise the level of the English language learning material that you listen to. You could try listening to the actual news. That's quite difficult. There'll be a lot of vocabulary there that's harder to understand and a lot of different voices.
Watch films or series. You might find you're able to have the subtitles on. There's a little transcript, written words able to run at the bottom of the screen. That's helpful when you first start. But watching films helps in other ways as well. Sometimes actors mumble. Sometimes they have an accent, sometimes there's background noise.
All of this makes it more difficult. So if you find films difficult to understand at first, don't give up. It just means you need to come up to that level and practise. Listening practice is what will help you do that.
So branch out, find different English speakers. Continue practising with us, but add in other voices to what you listen to. I think the height of understanding, and this is a test for you. If you can understand British standup comedy, that is a high level of understanding. If you've got there, your understanding is brilliant.
At some stage along this journey, you're going to need to start to speak and practise your speaking. This will happen at a time when it's right for you, and you'll know that time. Your mouth will want to start to say words. Perhaps you copy some of the phrases that I say in the podcasts.
Go with this. Make speaking gradually part of your 20 minutes practice time. So perhaps do 15 minutes listening and then spend five minutes answering your own questions. How am I today? What did I do yesterday? What am I going to cook for dinner tonight? What's going on tomorrow? How's my work at the moment?
Have a conversation with yourself in English to practise. You're still on your own. It's still not embarrassing, but it is brilliant. The speaking and the listening parts of your brain in English are linked, but they're not the same. So you do need to practise speaking separately, but listening is the preparation for this. Listening will make it so much easier.
And when you're ready, join an English conversation class or get a language partner online. This may change that little graph a bit because even if you do speaking just one hour a week, you'll make great progress. You'll be really surprised. So that graph might look a little different, but it still counts as your listening practice.
60 minutes or an hour is three days listening 'cause if you're having a conversation with someone, you're listening as well. So it still counts as your listening practice when you're doing speaking. You'll be amazed at the improvement that you can make with just an hour a week of speaking practice. It really is brilliant.
So that's your English language learning practice sorted. Just 20 minutes a day. That's all it takes if you can be consistent, if you can keep it up, if you can do this little graph, that's what it takes.
'Little and often' and in time you'll be able to move mountains with your English language learning.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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