How to learn a language
How to learn a language

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

How to learn a language

1 In what situations are listening skills required?

Listening is regarded by many language learners to be key to developing competence in a language. Why is that?

Well, as you learned in Week 2, many people think about their language learning goals in these terms: ‘I want to speak fluently’. However, if you can’t understand what’s being said in any given situation, does it really matter how good your speaking is?

This week you’re going to explore the skill of listening and answer the following questions:

  • What does it mean to listen in a foreign language?
  • How much should you be able to understand?
  • What are the different kinds of listening?
  • What’s the best way to improve your listening skills?
  • How can you listen and understand when you’re still a beginner?

Activity 1 Reflecting on your native language listening

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Think about the last 24 hours in your life. Write down every time you had to listen in the language you use most often. Think of as many examples as you can (e.g. watching TV, conversation with a colleague, meeting, ordering lunch).

Look over your list. Now think back to those situations you wrote down, and imagine what would happen if you were unable to understand. How differently would you experience life?

Discussion

You might be surprised at not only how often you need to listen, but how important listening is to living your life.

LLL_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371