Five tips to improve your listening skills
In this week's Premier Skills English podcast, Rich and Jack talk about the latest news from the Premier League as Leicester City get back to winning and Harry Kane scores another hat trick. The language focus this week is on different ways to improve your listening skills. Jack and Rich share five tips that could help you with your listening skills. We also explain the phrase 'gutted' and talk about how it is used in football. We also have a new football phrase for you to guess and announce our Player of the Week. Enjoy!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. You can see two examples here:
Manchester Utd beat Southampton in a thrilling match at Wembley Stadium.
Leicester City dropped into the relegation zone.
There were a few more tricky words in the podcast. Can you remember all of them? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words in context. This can really help with understanding.
Learner Training - Listening Skills
In this week's podcast, Rich and Jack shared five tips to improve your listening. Think about the advice they gave you and how it can help you develop different learning strategies and study skills. Look at the five tips again. Do you do any of these things? Do you think they could help you with your English?
Five tips to help you with your listening
- Listen carefully. Be an active listener. Respond to what the other person says as naturally as you can.
- Don't use subtitles. Subtitles can be good to improve vocabulary but they won't help your listening skills.
- Listen to a topic that you enjoy. Choose topics that interest you and will keep you listening.
- Watch and listen. Watching football matches or 'how to' videos can help your listening skills.
- Listen to podcasts. Listening to audio only content can be difficult but is a good challenge.
In the podcast, Jack and Rich spoke about 'how to' videos, where you can watch a video and learn something new at the same time. Have you ever watched any? Have a look at the 'how to' website that Jack mentioned in the podcast and watch a couple of the videos. Let us know if you think the videos are a useful way to practise your listening skills and if you learned anything new!
Can you think of any other strategies that you use to get more speaking practice and improve your speaking skills? Can you think of any other situations where you might use some of these tips?
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Jack: What’s happening this week, Rich?
Rich: In this week’s show, we’re going to talk about the latest in the Premier League and we’re going to give you five tips to help you with your listening skills.
Jack: Sorry, what did you say?
Rich: Listening skills. We’re going to be talking about listening skills this week.
Jack: Ahhhh! Yes, errr, sorry….
Rich: And one of the most important things when you’re listening is to listen to what the other person is saying and react to it. Isn’t it, Jack?
Jack: Yes, it is. Definitely. But, before we talk more about listening, let’s take a look at this week’s Premier League headlines.
Rich: United lift the League Cup at Wembley.
Jack: Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in a thrilling League Cup Final at Wembley stadium. Southampton played well but that man - Zlatan - was the difference between the two sides. He scored a late winner which meant United lifted the trophy for the fifth time.
Rich: The HurriKane scores his third hat-trick of 2017.
Jack: Tottenham’s Harry Kane scored another hat-trick as Spurs went back to second in the Premier League. Kane is now the top scorer in the Premier League this season and could win the Premier League’s Golden Boot for the second season in a row.
Rich: Leicester get back on track against Liverpool.
Jack: It’s been a difficult week at Leicester City. Claudio Ranieri left his job as Leicester manager and the club dropped into the relegation zone. But a brilliant performance against Liverpool gave the Foxes three points and a reason for the fans to be optimistic.
Rich: It’s definitely been an exciting week in the Premier League. What do you think about Leicester’s performance against Liverpool?
Jack: Yes, they were definitely back to their best. Jamie Vardy was brilliant. You must have been gutted, Rich.
Rich: Yes, Liverpool didn’t play that well. Gutted is probably a good description. It’s often used by footballers and managers in interviews, after a bad defeat.
Jack: Yes, it is quite informal and, like most informal language, you only really use it when speaking. It means to be very disappointed. I think Southampton fans would have been gutted when the final whistle went at Wembley.
Rich: Yes, you’re right there.
Jack: We said earlier that we are going to give you five tips to improve your listening skills in this week’s podcast.
Rich: Listening is really important when playing football and learning English. Can you think of an example when listening is important on the pitch, Jack?
Jack: Well, for example, a goalkeeper always needs to communicate with his defenders. He might shout ‘my ball’ or ‘mine’ to say that he is coming to catch or punch the ball. He might say ‘man on’ or ‘time’ to tell a defender if he is under pressure or not.
Rich: And a defender might say ‘leave it’ to the goalkeeper if the ball is going out of play. Listening to your teammates is very important, if you don’t, you might make a mistake and the other team might score.
Jack: And, players have to listen to the manager and coaches about strategy and tactics, too.
Rich: It’s a bit like this in the classroom when learning languages. You have to listen to your teacher but you have to listen to your teammates or classmates, too.
Jack: That’s right. And, here are our five tips that will help you become a better listener.
Rich: Tip number one is listen carefully. I know this sounds a bit silly but very often we’re not really listening to what the other person is saying. We’re often thinking about what we are going to say and not listening. We should learn to respond naturally to the other person so the conversation is more natural.
Jack: Yes, this is a good tip. I know this happens in the classroom. You should try to concentrate on the speaker and respond in a natural way to what he or she says.
Rich: Tip number two is don’t use subtitles. Subtitles are great for films and programmes in languages you don’t understand. I would use subtitles for a German or a Chinese film because I don’t speak these languages and I’m not learning them either.
Jack: Using English subtitles on English language films can be useful to help you learn new vocabulary, but subtitles won’t improve your listening skills. What often happens is that you stop listening and start reading because reading is easier than listening.
Rich: Tip number three is listen to a topic that you enjoy. Football - people speak about football all the time on the TV and the web. You can find interviews with footballers and managers in English easily.
Jack: That’s right. After you have watched a match, find a post match interview with the manager or a player. It makes it easier to understand because you have watched the match so you know what they are speaking about.
Rich: Tip number four is watch and listen. Listening is easier when you can see what is happening. Watching a football match in English is great because commentators are describing the action and talking about what is happening and this helps your understanding.
Jack: You can develop this by listening to other topics. ’How to videos are great. How to make the perfect pasta, how to change a car tyre... there are lots of how to videos on a website called instructables.com. You can also find football “how to” videos with things like how to do a bicycle kick.
Rich: Yes, and what is fantastic about these videos is that you can listen and then take some action, too. I remember a few months ago, you did a video about making the perfect smoothie. I’ve put a link on the side of this page for you to practise.
Jack: Yes, I love smoothies. Kiwi and banana is my favourite at the moment. And what’s our final tip, Rich.
Rich: Watching films, listening to songs and listening to people with different accents are something we all do and they are good ideas but our final tip is listening to podcasts!
Jack: Of course it is! But we don’t only mean our podcast. There are thousands of podcasts out there for you to listen to. Check out iTunes U or AudioBoom and type in your favourite topic.
Rich: Podcasts are also more challenging and difficult because you don’t have anything to look at. They definitely test your listening skills more.
Jack: But, it’s important to choose a topic that you enjoy. If I start listening to a podcast in French about types of sand found on the French coast I will turn it off very quickly.
Rich: And that is why we do this podcast for you. A challenging podcast about learning English and football! So shall we summarise those five tips to improve your listening skills.
Jack: Tip number one: Listen carefully and respond naturally to the person you are speaking to.
Rich: Tip number two: Don’t use subtitles.
Jack: Tip number three: Listen to interviews with football players and managers after you’ve watched a match.
Rich: Tip number four: Watch ‘how to’ videos.
Jack: Tip number five: Listen to podcasts.
Rich: So, those are our five tips to improve your listening skills. I hope they were helpful and if you didn’t listen to our podcast about improving your speaking skills we did last week, there is a link on the side of this page.
Jack: Right, let’s get back to the football.
Player of the Week
Jack: There were some great performances by Premier League players last week.
Rich: Yes, oure player of the week we could have chosen Harry Kane again. He scored a first-half hat-trick against Stoke. That’s three hat-tricks in 2017 for Kane!
Jack: Or we could have gone with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy who returned to form with two goals against Liverpool.
Rich: But we stepped out of the Premier League this week and chose Manchester Utd’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Jack: We could have chosen Southampton’s Manolo Gabbiadini who also got two goals and had another disallowed but it was Manchester United who won the Cup and it was Zlatan who got the winner.
Rich: He’s unbelievable. He’s 35 years old now and many thought he was past his best but these two Cup Final goals were his 25th and 26th of the season.
Jack: He’s made a massive difference to the team. I’m not sure one player has made such a big difference to a United team since I don’t know…. Eric Cantona.
Rich: A strong statement that one. I wonder what our listeners think...
Can you work out this week’s football phrase?
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was ‘leg’. And, yes, I know it’s part of your body, but in football it describes one of the games in a series of games between two teams. In European cup matches, you usually have two legs; the home leg and the away leg.
Rich: Leicester City play the second leg of their Champions League match against Sevilla in a couple of weeks.
Jack: That’s right - it should be a good match. Congratulations to Kwesimanifest from Ghana, Shobonenok from Russia, Mon from Egypt, Emir from Bosnia, AssemJuve from Palestine, Aragorn1986 from Montenegro, Elghoul from Algeria and Liubomyr and Alex from Ukraine. You all got the right answer!
Rich: What’s the football phrase this week?
Jack: The phrase this time is *** *****. It’s a very common word in football and many other sports. I’m going to make it a bit more difficult for you by talking about the etymology of the word.
Rich: Sorry. The what of the word.
Jack: The etymology of the word, the origins , where it comes from.
Jack: It is believed that the phrase comes from something that magicians used to do over two hundred years ago but the first time it was used to talk about sport was when it was used to talk about an action in cricket. A *** ***** was when a bowler (the player who throws the ball) got three batsman (the player who hits the ball) out with three consecutive balls or throws.
Rich: Is that everything?
Jack: No, after the match because the player got a *** ***** he was allowed to pass his hat around and people would put money in it for him.
Rich: That is quite interesting, but I’ll make it easier for everyone. *** ****** are what Harry Kane is very good at at the moment!
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week.
Rich: Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
Check your understanding:
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, Jack and Rich shared five tips to improve your listening skills.
Was the advice useful? Do you have any other tips to improve listening skills?
Do you listen to football matches in English? Do you listen to post-match interviews? Do you have a favourite phrase or moment from an interview?
Do football commentators describe goals in the same way in English and your language? Do you have a favourite piece of commentary from a football match?
Remember to write your guess at this week's football phrase and the questions above in the comments section below.