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October 25, 2013

If you’ve decided to study ESL, you know that learning English is about a lot more than just understanding the words when you see them on paper and having a good vocabulary. One of the biggest benefits of choosing to study ESL and truly learn English is that you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people and take in many new cultural experiences, such as watching movies, listening to music, and being part of complex conversations all while fully understanding everything that’s being said. In order to get to this advanced stage of learning, you’ll need to practice your English outside the classroom and challenge your brain to develop strong listening comprehension and speaking skills. One way you can do that is by taking advantage of audio and video aids and using repetition as a practice method. An audio book or a movie with English subtitles are just two of the easy-to-find resources you can use in this process as you study ESL. Here’s a step-by-step overview explaining what to do:

1) Listen to one sentence several times, allowing it to absorb into your mind. At the same time, look at the words in writing. This approach allows your brain to receive the information aurally and visually, plus you’ll be absorbing information about pronunciation and sentence flow.

2) Now, without looking at the words in front of you, repeat the sentence out loud a few times. You may be tempted to mash up the words together, but be sure to pronounce each word clearly.

3) Next, work on mastering an entire paragraph worth of content. Follow the approach outlined above, giving yourself time to go over each word individually.

4) Lastly, once a scene or other notable part of the story has ended, give a summary out loud. You can jot down key words to include in your story telling, but not whole sentences. Challenge yourself to piece together the key words and provide a recap of what just happened in the story. When you’re done, go back and listen to the original material and compare it to what you said. If you missed critical pieces of information, repeat the task.

Bonus tip: Many ESL students find watching English movies with closed captioning on allows them to more easily understand what’s happening in each scene. Captions allow you to see and hear what’s unfolding on the screen. What works best for you?

 


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