Hello, brave people! How are you coping with the weather and these crazy temperatures? Today is very windy where I am and I just don’t feel like going out at all, so I thought I could share some ideas with you, since it’s been quite long since my last post.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about this past school year and my students’ worries about their listening performance, so I’m going to take this opportunity to share some websites that I have used and recommended extensively. Here we go:
BBC English: the BBC’s motto says that they have been «inspiring language learning since 1943», so they have great experience and are true masters. They offer free audio, video and text materials to learners around the world. There is a wealth of resources to use at different levels. On this site, you will find:
- a) Courses: 8 different courses, all supplying video and audio files, together with the script and some follow-up activities. They are designed to help you improve your ability to understand and use English or to develop your skills further if you are an advanced student. You can read more about each individual course here. And they work perfectly well on smartphones, tablets or PCs.
- b) Features: some of the best-known podcasts to learn English can be found here: «The English we speak», «English at work», «English at University» or the «News Report». One of my favourite is «6 Minute English«: very interesting and up-to-date topics that you can listen to, which can be downloaded onto your device to be used off line, together with the script in a pdf file.
British Council: self-study lessons written and organised according to the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). There are recordings of different situations and interactive exercises. On this site you can also practise your reading, writing, ect, as well as solve grammar doubts.
Ello: English Language Listening Library Online. The good thing about this site is that it offers you both audio and video files with related activities and downloadable materials (pdf and mp3). The video files are shorter than one minute and are produced by people from all around the world, which means you can listen to a variety of accents.
Randall’s English ESLCyber Listening Lab: Activities focus on everyday English comprehension skills at three levels based on content, voices, vocabulary, and natural speed. A combination of adult, teenage, and children’s voices are included. There are quite a bunch of different topics with pre-listening activities, as well as vocabulary or comprehension exercises with available scripts. There is also a section on academic listening which includes a «very difficult» sections, for those of you who love challenges! Randall Davies has also developed two other sites for listening practice: DailyESL.com and Train your accent. The latter one puts an emphasis on pronunciation in order to help students in two ways: (1) improve students’ understanding of relaxed speech, (2) reduce their accents to improve comprehensibility, and (3) learn how relaxed speech is used with vocabulary and expressions in everyday language.
VoA Learning English, where VoA means «Voice of America», a website with loads of content drawn from U.S. and world news, Health and Lifestyle, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, and other topics. You can build vocabulary, strengthen speaking skills and improve the ability to communicate for work, school and everyday life. Audio programs and captioned (subtitled) videos – English in A Minute, English @ the Movies, Everyday Grammar TV and Learning English TV – are written using vocabulary at the upper-beginner and intermediate level. The programs are read one-third slower than normal English speed.
Well, I hope this gives you plenty of listening practice while you’re using the last days of summer. And remember that practice makes perfect!! You can do so many things online, the list of possibilities is endless! And with Netflix now… but that will be the subject of another post, any other day.
Please remember I’d love to hear your suggestions, comments or ideas. Tell me if you’ve used any of these websites or others that could be added to the list, and what your feelings are, if you found them useful or they were just crap (sure they’re not! 😉 ).