Listening skills are an important part of being a university student. If you decide to study at a Canadian university, you’ll need to listen to classmates as you work together on team projects as well as carefully listen during class lectures to understand course material. That’s why developing your listening skills is a top priority at ESL schools like CultureWorks, which are designed to help you acquire the language skills you need to succeed at university.
Through engaging assignments, classroom instruction, and fun class trips, you’ll learn to listen and speak English with ease (as well as develop your reading and writing skills too!). And while our courses are designed to help you develop your language skills quickly, there are a few tips you can use to boost your listening skills throughout your studies.
In fact, here are some top tips we’ve included on how to improve your listening comprehension skills while you attend an intensive English language program.
1. Hone in On Key Words as You Begin Your English as a Second Language Program
If you’re beginning your ESL education, you might need to start developing your listening skills by determining the main idea of a discussion. To do that, it might be a good idea to hone in on just a few key words instead of trying to understand each and every word you hear in a listening exercise or conversation with a friend.
Listen to what’s most important about a topic and not the extra details as you start out your intensive English language program in Canada. This will allow you to focus on specific items when listening, and reduces the amount of information you have to hold in your short-term memory. Then, as you become more comfortable, you’ll be able to broaden your scope and try to catch each word you hear.
2. Top-down: A Successful Listening Strategy to Try at an ESL Program in Canada
The top-down strategy is all about doing research before listening to a discussion, so that you can feel comfortable with the words you might encounter. For example, if you participate in the CultureWorks’ elective called the Daily Boomalang, you’ll get to practice your English through group discussions on current events and other topics. So if you have an assignment on discussing the Tim Horton’s Roll up the Rim to Win contest, for example, then you might want to do some research so that you know key terms like “Tim Hortons,” “donut,” “coffee,” and “prizes.” That way you’ll have an easier time following discussions and won’t be surprised by new vocabulary words you don’t know.
3. Read Along to Boost Your English Listening Skills
Another top way to boost your listening skills while you attend an ESL program in Canada is to read along as you listen to the words being spoken aloud. By trying this approach, you’ll get to see the combination of sounds, words, and grammar that are used.
Of course, this approach won’t work well for daily conversations with your friends. Instead, try listening to an audio book at the same time as you read the story. This way, you’ll be able to see how the words match up with the sounds, and take your listening skills even further than before.
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