Improve your English speaking at home, without a teacher - Part 3

Do as much listening in English as you can

This is the third blog post in a four-part series dedicated to helping you improve your IELTS speaking skills at home without the help of a teacher. In this post, we’ll be focusing on how you can maximise your listening opportunities to help you develop your spoken English.

It’s quite simple really. The more you listen and ‘notice’ language that is of interest to you, the more you will learn and this will, in turn, help you to improve your speaking skills. You can maximise your opportunities to listen to English in one of the following ways:

Ask questions

Ask questions!

Whenever you are having a conversation in English – whether this is with somebody whose main language is English or not – ask as many questions as is reasonable. The more questions you ask, the more you are required to listen and understand and then respond. Be careful not to overdo it though; nobody likes to be on the receiving end of an interrogation!

If you know you’ll be having a conversation in English later on this week, why not jot a few questions down that you can ask this person? Forming questions in English can be tricky so a bit of preparation beforehand can only help.

Watching films

Watch films or television in English

With the advent of Netflix, YouTube and catch up television online such as BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, there are plenty of opportunities to be entertained in English. The great thing is, all these online streaming services also provide a transcript or subtitles facility where you can watch and read along at the same time.

My advice would be to pick a programme or film you are really interested in and watch it once or twice with the subtitles on. Then turn the subtitles off and see how much you understand. You might have to watch it a few times without the subtitles, but the more you do this, the more you should understand.

Listening to radio

Listen to phone-in discussions on English radio