Today, I want to explain to you how to train and improve your listening skills and teach you some tricks that could work for Dutch but also for whatever
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?
Before you start a listening exercise or session, always think about what your goals are. If your goal is to improve your exact, precise understanding of (Dutch/target language X) texts and dialogue (such as names, dates, places information), then active listening is what you’re looking for.
Most likely that would entail using the dialogues from the book that you’re using in class, (re)doing a multiple choice related exercise and answering specific questions about the dialogue.
If you don’t want to redo the same exercises you’ve already done, you can either pause after each sentence someone has said and try to repeat that sentence. You could also listen to a dialogue from class without looking at the text, write down some crucial words and information and then try to explain orally what happened. You could even record yourself doing just that. In general, try to do active listening exercises as often as possible, especially if you’re still on an A1-A2 level.
If your goal is on the other hand to interact with the language in a more casual way without necessarily devoting all of your attention to each individual word, then passive listening is the way to go. A1-A2 students tend to underestimate this part, even though it’s so crucial. Believe me, if you only stick to the dialogues from your study book, you’re bound to get a little bit bored at some point during your learning process. Learning a language can be and should be fun, so make it happen.
Passive listening is all about developing a positive, casual relationship with your target language and that also means that you expose yourself to the language in the most casual way possible. Do you listen to music when doing the dishes or laying on the couch drinking a glass of France’s finest, well then just throw on some music in your target
One warning with passive listening
Don’t get stuck with audiovisual content that you don’t like. If you don’t like a certain
If you’re an A1-student and you’re scouring the net for good audiovisual material, always make sure that your material has a substantial visual correspondence. That means: avoid soaps, crime series, detective series, etc. (it’s a bunch of people talking about things that have happened, will happen or might happen to people often not in the room) and go for travel documentaries, food programs (recipes are useful), YouTube videos about gym or yoga workouts, etc. You could also try to watch your favorite animated movie in your target language (no matter the culture, most animated movies are dubbed for kids anyhow) either with English or target language subtitles.
Here you can find some specific sites that will help you find good A1-A2 audiovisual material:
- The Netherlands
- Here you can find some interesting documentaries:
- And here are some interesting cooking channels:
Finally, here you can find my own personal playlists for Dutch / Flemish music.