on listening 2

Personally, I think we should listen to materials of various topics. Listening to recorded conversations is especially beneficial. You can buy audio books of recorded conversations in most bookshops.


We should strike a balance between intensive listening and extensive listening. With beginners, intensive listening is more important than extensive listening. Beginners have to accumulate lots of info about the language. As our level progresses, we should switch to more extensive listening. I’d like to share my experience of practicing listening with you.


I attended a two-year teachers’ college. After I started working, I realized that what I had learned in college was inadequate for my job. Therefore, I began to improve my listening systematically. I started with Step By Step by ECNU and Listen to This by Professor He Qixin from Beiwai. I used the two sets of books for intensive listening. Every evening, after I finished my share of housework, I went to my study and closed the door. I sat down for 1 hour’s intensive listening using the two sets of books. My family were very supportive. They didn’t disturb me or allow anyone else to interrupt me. After some time I formed the habit of practicing listening at the fixed time every evening. The progress was great. So, set aside a period of time for listening practice and make sure you are not disturbed. Once you have formed the habit, you will find listening is a pleasure. I remember I couldn’t sleep well if I missed a day’s routine of listening, because my family sometimes had visitors or guests, and I had to be present.


During the period I used the two sets of books for intensive listening, I also used my short-wave radio for listening extensively. In the morning and in the early evening I was tuned to BBC or VOA. At the beginning, I didn’t understand much. But simply listening to the speakers on the radio was a wonderful feeling. I could feel the rhythm of the language. The speech was like some music in that I enjoyed a song although I didn’t understand every word of the song. But as I progressed with Listen to This, I found I was beginning to understand more and more of BBC or VOA. And on the radio occasionally I was able to recognize some pieces of language I had heard in Listen to This and Step by Step. Some words, phrases and idioms became more and more familiar to me. By the time I went through Listen to this, I had already been able to understand a lot of BBC and VOA programs. As you can see, as I became stronger in listening, I spent more and more time on the radio. That is, the amount of my extensive listening increased when I became better.


In a word, set aside a fixed period of time for listening practice every day. Make sure you are not disturbed. Stick to it every day, every day. Also, expand extensive listening as you become stronger in listening. But in the beginning, intensive listening is very very important.


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