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05 / 10 / 2009

A LISTENING ACTIVITY: meaning and examples

Good morning everyone. I hope you had a great weekend!

One of my favourite websites for practicing listening comprehension is It has hundreds of quality presentations given by people from different professions and backgrounds. The presentations usually include subtitles in English and Spanish, as well as other languages.

Yesterday I watched a short presentation (4.5 minutes) about "English Mania" in the world, specifically in China. The speaker, Jay Walker, claims that English is becoming the "problem-solving" language of the world.  He says, "Your native language is your life. But with English you can become part of a wider conversation. A global conversation about global problems." I recommend watching it. Below I have included the direct link.

You may not agree with Mr Walker, so please give us your opinions by making a comment for this Daily Vitamin on our website.

SUGGESTIONS FOR WATCHING: I suggest watching this short video once or twice with no subtitles, just to see what you can understand and what you can't understand. You can stop the video and watch difficult-to-understand segments various times if you want. Don't get frustrated if you have trouble understanding; you can't improve your listening abilities without having moments of not understanding. It's part of the learning process.

After watching the presentation in English, try activating the English subtitles and watch it a few more times. Finally, if you are not convinced that you have understood everything, activate the Spanish subtitles, or the subtitles of another language that you understand better than English (French, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Polish ...).

Use the search option on TED to look for other videos that might interest you, and make a habit of watching these videos often.

What do you think would happen to your listening abilities if you watched TED videos 2 or 3 times per week, following the process that I have just explained above? Not only would you learn a lot about many different topics, but within six months to a year your ability to understand English-speaking people would increase exponentially. And if you improve your listening, I promise that the other skills will follow (pronunciation, conversations skills, vocabulary knowledge...).

I hope to see your comments on the website. Have a great day!