Hi, James from EngVid. That's a mighty nice ear!
Today, I want to teach a lesson on listening skills. About a year ago I did a lesson on
listening skills, and I promised in that one to give you a system that you
could use to improve at home, and then I decided I wanted to make it better than that.
I want you to get instant skills, so today's lesson, "Instant Advanced
Listening Skills". Well, how do you do that? Because, "instant" means
immediately, and you're probably thinking I've been practicing for months,
or years and I still have trouble. We're going to fix that today,
if you follow the four steps.
The first thing we want to talk about is this: "Don't think, just listen."
Now just imagine this, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, boo-boo, blah,
blah, blah boo-boo blah, blah; crazy right? Well, people do this all the
time, even when they speak their own language. What I'm talking about is
they are thinking while someone else is speaking.
And that's the problem, because if you have one voice going and then
another voice is going, what you're actually doing is carrying on two
conversations -- and you get confused. So I often tell students "Don't do
that. Don't think." For some people not thinking is kind of easy.
But this is special thinking. I'm saying, "Don't try to understand what
they're saying." Now if you go to the first video you go "Well, that's the
opposite of what you said." This is different. In advanced skills you
might notice if I go, "woof" you know that's a dog. You don't sit there
and think "Is that a dog, or a squirrel, or a chicken or a cow?" You know
it's a dog.
When someone's speaking just listen. I'm going to help you with something
else that will make it easier for you to get the information, even if you
don't think. So just let the information come to you, all right? Now
remember, "Don't think. Just listen." Because you can't understand two
conversations at once, that's the one in your head, and the one you're
listening to. That's why we usually only let one person speak at a time.
Now what's the second thing? Well now you're sitting there listening.
Here's a problem. If you listen to somebody for about 10 minutes; a long
speech, tired is the first thing you're going to get. But that's not even
it; you're going to lose information. It's very difficult to listen to
something for a long time, and keep getting that information and keeping it
fresh, especially if you're not thinking.
So here's what we're going to do. We're going to break it into "chunks".
"Chunks" means parts or pieces, so if you have a bigger piece, and you
break off a part it's called a "chunk". How do we break it into chunks?
That's the second part of the formula -- ask questions.
"Engage to be engaged". "Engage" means to take part in or, for some people, get married,
right? Whatever, you know the wedding song.
Anyway, if you "engage" by asking questions, it brings in your curiosity
and it brings in your mind, or your brain to be fresh, to concentrate and
that's what we need. We need you to focus on what you're hearing. Because
you are not actually thinking, by asking the question it helps you to take
that information and break it into "chunks" so you're not listening to long speeches.
But also by doing that what you're doing is you're allowing yourself well,
later on for your brain to take the information, from the questions to
understand, because the question has to be relevant. "Relevant" means,
has something to do with the situation at that time, all right?
"Is it relevant?" So it will help you with thinking. Why are we doing this?
Well this is the "instant" part, believe it or not, because if you can do
this right away you will start noticing that you understand 60%-70%-80% of
conversations, right away. But I did lie a little bit. You need a little
practice at home to make this work. Because once we do this part, this
will happen instantly. So let's go over to the board, all right?
Home practice; yes the dreaded "H-word". I could think of other words like
my ex-girlfriend Helen, but that's another story. Home practice is
absolutely necessary. And what I mean by this is we're going to do
something else I probably told you not to do. Or most teachers say they
say "Don't watch movies. They're too difficult, and you have to watch with subtitles."
Personally I disagree with that. I've taught classes for years, and I
would freak students out -- and "freak them out" means shock them or
surprise them -- where they would come in, I'd put on an English movie,
where the English people were speaking as fast as I am, believe it or not,
and no subtitles, and they would freak out.
Like, "Oh, you're crazy! How do you expect us to learn?" But within one to
two weeks a lot of these students could get 50%, if not 80%. Oh, I lie;
50% to 60% of the movie, and in two months, 80%. Some of them even would go
to the theater, and watch the movie in the theater, no subtitles! And
there's a reason why I don't like subtitles.
When I'm speaking to you words are not appearing under my mouth as I speak. (LOL)
This does not happen in reality. So when somebody says to you, you know,
"You need subtitles to understand." Think about it: there are no subtitles!
So I don't think we should use them, not for advanced skills. If you're
doing beginner skills, as I said, watch the first movie. That will help you
or the first video.
We should look at movies. First thing: no subtitles. The other thing I
want you to do is take a chunk. We used that word before. Like two
or three sentences, maybe five, between two people. No more than five and
you play that same chunk over and over again.
I recommend if you're just beginning, ten times down to a minimum of three
times. When you get really good three times is all you need, and you'll
catch most of the information. Now, by doing this here's what I want you to
do. I didn't write it on the board, but now I need you to... "You need to
listen to me, because I'm going to explain."
As you play the "chunks", what I want you to do -- or that scene -- is write out
every word you hear. Not some, not what you think, but exactly what you
hear. When you finish playing it, either three, or up to ten times, only
then can you put on the subtitles, yeah?
But this is different than what other teachers want you to do. What I'm
asking you to do is put the subtitles on, and compare what you wrote with
what it says. Good. The reason why is then you can see what you're missing
and whatever you're missing, you must practice out loud.
So if there's a word, "blasphemy" and you've never seen it, of course
you've never seen it, or heard it before. But if you said, "The act was
blasphemous." You might know "the". You might know, "act". But,
"blasphemous" you don't know. So practice it "blas-phe; blas-phe-ma;
blasphemous" until you can recognize it.
After you do that with all the missing words, play it again without
subtitles. Magic, you will notice instantly you can hear the words. You
may know what they mean but you'll hear them, and that's extremely
important, because if you can't identify something, you can't ask anyone to
explain it to you, right? Cool.
So that's when we can play it with subtitles to help us fill in the gaps.
"Gap" mean space. I've got a space here but gap means space between two
things. Now finally once you're finished, and we've done all that work
here, because it's a lot of work, I want you to watch it one more time, but
close your eyes.
Human beings are really interesting. They have found in science that when
a human loses one sense; hearing, taste, vision, or touch, the other ones
get better. When you close your eyes, it allows you to listen better or to
focus more, so you can pick up more information. So, to recap, and when we
say "recap" it means to go over; to give you the important parts; by doing
your home practice I can promise you, when you do this it will be easy.
Now one small little thing, before we forget. Things that most teachers
don't tell you. There is actually an order of movies you should watch, or
programs or let's say media, you should watch to get the most out of your
Number one: start with kids programs! Why? "I love you, you love me, we're
one big happy family" and then they show you pictures. A big heart, "I
love you, you love me", and they put it up there. I mean come on; they
make it easy for you to get it and then they explain it! First.
Next -- TV programs, once you're there and you're bored of it, and you're
like, "I got it. I got all the basics" because it will be basic language,
you must learn it anyway. Watch something like "Friends." "No one knows
you." Watch "Friends."
It's what we call stupid humor. People will and fall over, "Oh, he fell,
Chandler fell." And then you go, "Oh, fall that's what he did. Ahahaha." Stupid
comedies -- it makes it easy. They don't speak quickly, right? They want the
audience to understand. It's very short, 20 minutes maximum.
What do we do after that? So, first kids movies, then TV programs, easy
ones. You want to know what you watch next. Action movies. That's right,
action movies. Action movies are made for stupid people. I said it. I
love action movies, I won't say I'm stupid, but I love action movies.
Why? Because they always explain any hard words. If there's something
hard, "It will be a catastrophe if this occurs." Someone will run in and
the hero will go, "catastrophe" and the little nerd scientist -- "nerd"
means uncool -- will run and go, "Catastrophe! Bad things will happen and
people will die."
And the hero will go, "Oh my gosh, that is bad." So then, suddenly you
understand all the big words, they speak slow enough, so you get
everything, all right? So now you're intermediate, if you can do action
movies. From there I recommend drama, and then dark comedies. Drama -- they
use big words and because they're intellectual and very smart,
they won't explain the words to you, because they're saying we're
sophisticated, you should understand. And finally, dark comedies are good,
because they play with the language. They won't be falling all over the
place. They'll use language in a sophisticated way, which means a high
level, so you really have to understand what you're listening to, and the
language you're working with.
By the way, this isn't just for English you can use this for any language
you're trying to learn, okay? But this especially works with English. So
if you remember those five types of movies I was telling you about, that
you should study in that order, and you follow these rules, you will have
absolutely no problem at all learning from movies.
I know this is a long video, but I've got one other thing to help you with.
That one other thing is how do you get this information? Do you remember,
when I said this is going to be instant you still have to go, "Well, James,
how am I going to get this information?" Well, I'm going to tell you.
There are about five things you should remember when you're trying to get
the information. Times -- people often say time; they often say dates,
numbers, names, and addresses in any conversation. "Tom went home at three
o'clock, and I don't think he's coming back again." So you've got Tom and
you've got a time.
The other thing that people give is important information, and I'm sure
you're saying, "How do I know that it's important information?" Well,
you've been taking grammar and I've been speaking pretty quickly, so I know
So you already know I'm sure about superlatives and modals of necessity.
When you hear something like "never", "always", "must", or "should",
someone's telling you, "What I'm about to tell you is very important."
Yeah? So keep those in mind.
Also, when you hear a superlative -- "most or "best" -- it's usually important. If you
can remember those pieces of information, practice trying to find them when
you're listening to the video, your brain will grab the rest of that
information and give you complete sentences or ideas of sentences.
And because you're practicing and I like movies, because they are closest
to real life when you are in real life, and you're not trying to think at
the same time, and you're actually asking questions, or "engaging", you're
going to find that almost instantly, you're understanding conversations.
Don't believe what I say. Try it. And I can almost guarantee you, you're
going to be surprised at how quickly you learn. Now before I take off
because I know you're listening to me carefully now and this is very
important -- see, it's that "very" -- tells you important information.
You need to go someplace to do the first lesson, keep that one first. And
where would that be? Those of you who've been with me for a while know it's
www -- that's a funny w -- www.eng as in English; vid as in video, .com ,where I'm
going to be happy to teach you this and other lessons. Mr. E.? I'm out.
Learn English for free www.engvid.com