In our previous blog posts we've looked at learning English from your home by connecting it to things you enjoy doing, and by forcing yourself to interact with the English language.
Now we are going to look at specific methods of improving your listening skills, all from the comfort of your own home.
Getting addicted to an English speaking TV series is a great way to practise your listening while also relaxing, and it's the same for movies. However there is some debate about whether or not to use subtitles.
Research has shown that using subtitles in your native language can have a negative effect on your vocabulary learning while watching films or TV series. Subtitles in English tend to assist with vocabulary, whereas watching films without any subtitles will help more with your listening ability. I find the best technique (if you have time) is to watch without subtitles, and then rewatch any parts you really struggle to understand with subtitles.
There are a lot of choices for TV shows and films on the internet, and many need a subscription or a particular geographical location (Netflix, BBC iPlayer et al). Many Youtube videos now come with optional subtitles too - just click on the 'CC' button at the bottom of the video.
Finding a weekly podcast or radio show that you enjoy is another way to make sure you practise your listening at least once a week. Using http://player.beyondpod.mobi/ you can search podcasts related to your interests, such as music, business, or sports.
Football Weekly - award winning football podcast twice a week
Planet Money - the economy, explained
99% Invisible - a podcast about the story of things we never notice
So many songs are in English now, you are probably already doing this. However, it is better to find the lyrics to the whole song rather than just remembering the chorus which is sometimes very basic ("She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" as an example!).
Genius.com is an amazing website which explains lyrics and also culutral references in songs
www.lyricstraining.com helps you practise listening skills while playing a game of 'guess that lyric' with popular songs.
Skype lessons - book them via English Steps here
TED talks - thought provoking talks from some of the leading thinkers today
Audiobooks - something to do while in your car. Access hundreds of audiobooks for a monthly fee here at Audible