How TED Improves Your English Listening Skill

Watching TED videos can be a solution for you who want to improve your English listening skill. It hosts abundant resources that are helpful for people who want to have better listening skill. Besides, TED also lets you practice how to pronounce English words by immitating the speakers on the video and it lets you learn acceptable intonation. Then, how TED videos improve your listening skill?

There are many topics that are covered by TED - including science, business, social change, psychology, education, arts, politics, health, and many other. This is a good news for you that TED allows you to learn English on your devices - laptop and smart-phone. TED shows speakers present a topic in English. If you prefer to use your smart-phone or tablet, it would be better since TED provides downloadable Android and iOS application. This means that you can learn all day long at your convenient time. Thing that makes it far better from learning from Youtube is that TED provides subtitle in many languages.

My experience

I regularly watch TED’s videos on my iPad. In listening, I usually put my headphone with noise-cancellation feature because it allows me to focus only on topic discussed on video. When listening, I activate the English subtitle but I do not focus on it in my first time watching the video. What I do is just listening and guessing what the speaker says. After that, I replay the video and focus on the English subtitle to make sure that what I have listened and understood is similar - or at least, close - with what is displayed on the screen.

I have been applying this method for about 3 months and I am satisfied enough with the result. I think, it is a promising method that I am now able to write what some speakers say on the videos and I am able to catch the meaning of some sentences without paying my attention to the subtitle. Those are what I can do when I listen to the topic that I have been familiar with. When listening topics that are strange to me, I still need to activate and pay attention to the subtitle. This is what I call ‘my learning process’. You should try this.

Then, how to take advantage from TED videos?

Watch & listen topics you are interested in

The first rule is that ‘watch and listen topics that you are interested in’. This will ease you in capturing the whole idea of what is being discussed on the video since you have been familiar with the topic discussed. That you listen on videos you have been familiar with vocabulary and terms helps you in catching the meaning of sentences you are listening to. If not, you can guess the meaning.

Focus: Notice every line you listen

Noticing is the key to language learning - especially listening. You should differentiate the meaning of ‘listening’ with ‘noticing’. You might listen all words and sentences said in a conversation done by some students outside your class but when you are asked what they talk about, you cannot repeat. Listening just needs your ears. When you can listen to voice or sound, it means that your ears function and work properly. What I mean by ‘noticing’ here is, transferring what you listen into your brain. Then, noticing needs your effort to process expressions you listen, interpret the meaning, and understand them.

Watch & listen over and over

The most promising key to language learning is repetition. You should spend your time and effort to make yourself familiar with English. The more you listen, the more you obtain. This is not a theory, but the law that cannot be rejected. Remember, you are able to communicate with people using your native language is because you have been familiar with your native language. Your ability is not the result of your conscious learning but your familiarity. You listen to sentences and expressions over and over until you are able to speak it. Majority of people can even produce sentences containing words they do not know the definitions. Those kind of people know because they are familiar - not the result of learning.