Listening skills are an essential part of communication in any language. There are numerous ways you can practice your listening. For example:
Listen to the radio while you are at home. You could listen to music or a talk show. Choose something you find interesting, listen for the general idea then [as you improve] try and pick up on specific details.
Watch films with the subtitles switched on. This is probably one of the most common and popular ways of improving listening outside the classroom. It is useful to hear English spoken at the natural speed of native speakers. If you need to, watch the film a few times. You can use subtitles to help you but after watching the film a few times, or when your listening skills improve, try to watch the film without subtitles.
Listening to music will increase the difficulty and challenge you a bit more. You can start by listening to songs you enjoy and then try different varieties of music. It is a bit more challenging as there is no video in the background and the speed of the singing and background music often changes.
Below is a list of popular websites that have many listening activities. These activities are free, graded to different levels and cover a variety of different subjects. There are activities that you can complete after the listening to test your understanding. If you missed something you can go back and listen again.
Listening doesn’t always involve sitting down in front of a computer, radio or TV. You can combine listening with going about your day. Listen while you’re on the tube or bus, listen to the buskers as you walk home and listen to announcements at stations. There are opportunities everywhere to practice your listening skills!
Lastly, surround yourself with English speakers or make sure you and your friends or family communicate in English as much as possible. That way, you will all have to listen in English! You will hear many different accents, which will help your understanding. You will also pick up on pronunciation and, of course, you will also be practicing your speaking and learning new vocabulary!