A lot of English learners struggle with understanding native and fluent speakers. Real English is difficult to understand especially if you've only studied English in classrooms and with textbooks, and that's because spoken English is very different from the the English they teach you at most academies. So what can you do to get better? Put away the textbook and listen to real English, a lot. There is really no other way. Let's look at some of the other things you could do to improve your listening.
1. Accept the fact that you won’t understand everything
You’ll miss words or even whole sentences and that’s normal. I mean, if you understood everything, you wouldn’t be studying English! So, don't panic and focus on understanding the context or the general idea and not specific words.
2. Listen with a purpose
Focus on a specific purpose other than just ‘improving listening’. For example, you could listen to a podcast to learn more about something in particular that interests you. Maybe you want to learn more about current fashion trends or how to change your money habits. Whatever it is, having a clear purpose will make your exercise more effective and interesting.
3. Be active in your listening
Passive listening is great for when you just want to relax and watch a movie. But if you want your learning sessions to be more productive, you need to get more involved. Learning doesn’t really happen if you’re not engaged and active. One of the best ways to do this is to take notes while your listening. For example, you could write down the names of the speakers and the general points of what they’re trying to say. If there is a word or a sentence that you find interesting, you could write it down and practice using it.
4. Practice a little every day
Practicing a little every day will help you progress a lot more than practicing an hour once a week. Think about it, if you practice an hour once a week, you’re still only practicing once a week. Practicing 15 minutes a day (or 4-5 days a week), will be so much more effective.
5. Trust the learning process!
Listening is difficult especially if you’re not an auditory learner. A lot of people struggle with listening but just like anything else, it’s a skill that you can strengthen. So don’t give up and find the methods that work for YOU!