Why Is Listening Skill So Important to Study First?


Speaking English can be particularly challenging for those who struggle with listening comprehension since it is the key to understanding spoken English as well as the cultures of those who speak it. Such challenges come for so many reasons, yet many people are mostly unaware of them. In this post, I will walk you through everything you need to improve your listening comprehension skills and master the art of understanding spoken English no matter your level of proficiency. This will be your one-stop shop for designing an English learning program emphasizing listening, including:
– Why should you learn English listening first?
– Why do many people struggle with listening?
– How can you effectively improve your English listening skill?

Why should you learn English listening first?
“Why should I brush up on listening?” is a question that many English students come up with. They still wonder why not other skills like speaking, which they study first instead of listening. Some teachers will tell you that you need to study speaking as you need to speak from day one. They will argue that speaking is crucial, as without it you can’t interact with English speakers, or you can’t produce language.

And as a learner, you probably subscribe to the idea that many students pay tutors to teach them because they want to be able to speak English, not listen to it. In fact, speaking is critical in today’s society. Learning to speak English is an important part of learning the language. However, I believe that listening is the most important English skill because it is impossible to converse with others if you do not understand what they are saying. Listening is the first step in establishing a rapport with someone. You’ll have a better chance of succeeding in a conversation if you learn to listen well. In other words, listening is a prerequisite for speaking.

Practicing basic language skills through listening will help you feel less intimidated. This is not merely my opinion; it is one of the fundamental principles of Stephen Krashen, the legendary linguist, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Southern California, who undoubtedly knows more about how to learn languages effectively than almost anyone else on the planet.

“The best methods are therefore those that supply ‘comprehensible input‘ in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are ‘ready’, recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production.”

The other skills will follow if you can listen well. When you engage in listening activities, you’re not only improving your listening skills, but you’re also enhancing your abilities in other areas. As a result, the more you improve your listening skills, the better your other skills will get as well. For instance, when you study listening, you can also work on your grammar, vocabulary, and even your ability to speak English at the same time. In other words, focus your attention on listening, and you’ll improve your other skills as well.

Why do many people struggle with listening?
There are several factors inhibiting people from perfecting their listening skills.

1. Limited vocabularies
Because of a lack of English words, you may not be able to fully comprehend what you are hearing. You can’t do anything without words in your language. Trying to decipher a message if it contains a large number of unfamiliar words may be difficult for you.
Another case that can be even more frustrating is when you are familiar with the vocabulary but are unable to decipher its meaning while listening. In most cases, this is due to the fact that you learn new words visually rather than by hearing them. Only the written form has been taught to you, leaving you without an understanding of the word’s pronunciation. Because you may know the words, but you may not hear them very often, you may not be able to immediately identify the words when they are spoken to you. In most cases, you’ll need a few pauses to jog your memory of the words.

2. Try to understand every single word
Most people have the wrong frame of mind. It’s common for students of English to believe that they must know the meaning of every word to comprehend the entire listening experience. As a result, if you try to understand every single word while listening, when you don’t know a word, you’re more likely to stop and think about it, which slows down the entire process. The rest of the listening will go unnoticed because your mind is preoccupied with the past. It’s a common blunder made by many English speakers.
If you want to learn English or any other language, you have to accept the fact that you will never be able to fully comprehend everything that is said. You’ll be able to decipher the message based on the key words, your prior knowledge, and the linguistic context.

3. Unfamiliar grammar structures
When learning a new language, its grammatical structures are unfamiliar and strange to you. You won’t be able to speak it fluently because it’s different from your native language. Learning English grammar isn’t a prerequisite, but it does play a role in listening. If you don’t know the rules of grammar, listening can be difficult. It’s even more difficult if you’re just getting started.
Listening is a form of receiving language that is processed through the ears. As you listen, you become a passive receiver of information. You have no idea what is going to happen. The message will be difficult to understand if you are unfamiliar with the language’s structure.

4. Different accents
As a result of globalization, the world has become more accessible. A study found that 66% of English learners believe that accents are the most important factor in listening comprehension. Depending on the region of the world from which the speakers hail, different words may have different pronunciations.
If you speak American English, listening to Japanese or Indian English or other non-native accents will be arduous. The reason is that you are unable to recognize the sounds; or, even if you do recognize the sounds, it takes time for you to process what they mean; as a result, your communication may be slowed.

5. Limited background knowledge
Background knowledge entails an understanding of a variety of subjects, including sciences, culture, economics, politics, religion, and art. Cultural knowledge is the most critical of all because it has a significant impact on communication.
Have you ever been in a situation where you could hear every sound in a conversation but couldn’t understand what the speaker was saying?
This is due to a cultural mismatch. Culture and language are inextricably linked. They can’t exist apart from one another, without a doubt. Cultural differences contribute to miscommunication not only in listening but also in other aspects of the English language. Listening materials may cover any topics. Existing background knowledge assists listeners in making predictions and interpreting meaning.

How can you effectively improve your English listening skill?
Join Golobe Education and you’ll get the most effective way to improve your Listening skill.

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