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How to Develop English Speaking & Listening Skills? by Erblina Shinjatari

Developing your skills in any language means improving many things: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Today I will cover only two aspects: listening and speaking.


I have read that improving English skills is a journey, not a destination and I completely agree. I am on the journey myself and trying my best to reach the destination over the years. I am more than happy to share my suggestions with you today on how you can develop your English listening and speaking skills.


Listening skills

It is a must to have strong listening skills so you can understand everything that is happening around you. If we have difficulty listening and absorbing information, we will not be able to make progress in speaking, reading and writing.


The most important thing to develop listening skills is to listen to English every day and do it for a long time. Just as your muscles need regular exercise to stay fit, your ears need regular listening practice to stay sharp. If you listen to even a little bit of English every day, your progress will be fast.


A great way to develop your English listening skills is to combine active and passive listening. Research shows that active listening will give you results because your brain needs you to bring attention to things to remember them.


Becoming an active listener is very important. You need to pay attention and make good eye contact with the speaker. You also need to show your interest in the speaker by nodding your head or smiling. Remember to listen more than you speak. Avoid interrupting and you can also ask some good questions.


Another thing to improve your English listening skills is using resources containing both audio and a text transcript to check your comprehension when you listen to something new. You can choose to practice with a podcast episode, a youtube video, a movie, or a tv show.


My favourite learning method is listening for twenty minutes a day, so you don't get tired. Scientific research has proven that listening twenty minutes a day is more productive than trying to memorize hundreds of new words.


I strongly recommend that you think about the topic and content of the learning resources you choose and find things that you are interested in.

I would always suggest listening to short audio clips, around 10 minutes in length because long clips are exhausting. When you listen to short clips, you can easily listen to them multiple times.

It is extremely important for you to listen to a clip multiple times if you want to progress. You need to listen first without reading the transcript and repeat the clip for better understanding. After that, you can listen and read the transcript at the same time. Remember to write down any new words you don’t know. This is a great way to expand your vocabulary for your everyday conversation. Finally, you can listen again without reading. By this point, you should understand almost everything.


Another important thing is listening to different accents so you can understand every native English Speaker. You can understand all accents if you keep on listening. Don’t forget to practice the accent that is difficult for you.


We can also benefit a lot from passive listening, especially when we are doing something else. One of the things about passive listening is that we don’t have to pay attention to it. So, you can listen to music or the radio while you do the housework. You may think that you are not learning anything, but your brain registers everything in the background.


Speaking skills

Speaking skills are one of the most important skills because they allow us to communicate with others and express our thoughts and feelings.


Learn your speaking by listening. The more you listen, the more you learn. Some good resources are news, podcasts, songs and TV shows. If you love listening to music, pay attention to the lyrics and take note of the words you don’t know. A lot of songs contain a lot of vocabulary, phrases and expressions that are great for learning English.


Expand your vocabulary and learn new words every day. Even if you don’t have time, you can learn just one word per day. By learning one word every day, you will have learned 365 new English words after one year.


Improve your pronunciation. It is very important to use the correct sounds when you speak so others can understand what you are saying. You can use online dictionaries and make sure they have the little speaker symbol to check the pronunciation of words you are not sure about.


An amazing way to improve English speaking skills is learning words in groups. You can also benefit from learning words that are related. You can also learn to speak fluently in English by paying attention to the linking words, contractions, tune, stress, intonation and rhythm.


Talk to yourself in English loudly. You can pick up a book and read a couple of pages out loud. This exercise will speed up your speaking skills.


Confidence is one of the most important things in developing English speaking skills. Don’t try to be perfect. It doesn't matter whether you use simple sentences, your subject matter is not lofty, your word choice is basic, the tone of your voice is not to your expected standards, your body language is showing signs of nervousness, your ability to make direct eye contact with the people is not stable, because it's the effort, the intention and the confidence to express yourself that counts.


Thinking in English will help you become more fluent in English. Most experts say that it is best to start small and think in individual words. Then, you can continue to think in sentences. You need to do a little every day.


Finally, it is important to use the method that works best for you if you want to improve your English listening and speaking skills. Remember that practice makes you perfect!


Author:Erblina Shinjatari FS Level 1 Student The Manchester College

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