Improving Listening Skills


Donna French Lucas, Adjunct Instructor/Private Tutor, Eastern Florida State College / Alternatives Education, Inc. writes: 

“Recently, I have returned to dictation as an effective way to get adults to pay close enough attention to understand what they are hearing. I teach at the college level in Florida, and my students range in age from 18 to 45. Rong-chang’s website has been extremely valuable: 

English for Intermediate Learners (1): Dictation Exercises for ESL Learners

English for Intermediate Learners (1): Dictation Exercises for ESL Learners

These Dictation exercises are intended for intermediate ESL learners. By doing these Dictation exercises, you can improve your test-taking skills, grammar, and vocabulary. It is part of the ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE Website (, the biggest ESL Web directory. View Now

Students have 200 dictation exercises, each one of which has one sentence. Students listen to the audio of a sentence and then must type the sentence/question that they hear. Thus, several skills are combined in one exercise, a semester-long, ongoing assignment that has worked wonders in my classroom.”
Melinda Sayavedra suggest: 

“I think students need to be made aware of various strategies to improve their listening skills and then practice applying those strategies. Different strategies are more effective for some listening contexts than for others; it depends on the listening situation and the purpose for listening. Is it a lecture where they won’t need to respond verbally? Is it a conversational dialog? Is it an information seeking interaction at a place of business? etc. So, we practice different strategies for different contexts. I’ve attached a list of strategies. I use this list in helping me design activities to have students focus on and practice one or two of these at a time in class.

I also use the following websites in class and as homework. I like these particular ones because they move students beyond sentence level listening but have various options in terms of level, are high intereste, and for the most part, the English is spoken at a more natural rate and words and sentences aren’t overly enunciated, leaving out natural linking and reduction. I ask them to choose one or two strategies they will use during listening and to consciously apply these.

 Happy Listening!”

What are your thoughts?