3 Ways to Be a Better in LISTENING & UNDERSTANDING English

        Hello. I am going to teach you how to be a better listener. I'm going to teach you three steps, which will really, really help you with your listening. So before I teach you how to be a better listener, I want you to think about: What kind of listener are you? Okay? So, I have, here, a question. I want you to imagine this. You're talking to somebody, an English speaker, and you don't understand what they're saying. Okay? You have no idea. I don't understand what they're saying. What do you do? Okay? Here are your choices. 

     Do you: A) look scared? A lot of students do this.

     Do you: B) Nod and pretend you understand? Nod and say: "I understand", but you really don't understand; you have no idea? 

     C) Are you honest? Do you say: "I'm sorry. I don't understand"?

      Or, D) Do you say: "I don't understand", and you ask the person to write down what they're saying? Okay?

      So, which one do you do? Do you look scared, do you nod and pretend you understand when you don't? 

     Do you say: "I don't understand" or do you say: "I don't understand" and ask them to write it down? Maybe you do multiple things. Okay? 
     Which one do you think is the best thing to do? If you said: D or C, you are correct. Okay? 

     Now, there is a little bit of a difference between C and D. 

     It's mainly that D, we use some sort of listening strategy. 
     I'm going to teach you some very, very good strategies you can use, which will help you be a better listener.
      Okay, so if you don't understand something, very first thing you should do is show you don't understand. 
     Okay? You should really let the person know you don't understand. 
     There's nothing to be embarrassed about. We all have times where we don't understand what somebody is saying, but we really do want to know, so it's very important you let the person know that you don't understand.
     So, here are a couple of different ways we can say that. The first one: "I didn't catch that.", "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that." This means the exact same thing as: "I don't understand." So you can say: "I don't understand." or "I didn't catch that." You can also say: "I'm sorry I don't understand." One thing a lot of students say, but it's not a good thing to say: "I no understand." Okay? This: "I no understand", I hear many students say it. This, wrong. Okay? So you can either say: "I didn't catch that.", "I'm sorry I don't understand.", but you cannot say: "I no understand." That one is bad English. Okay, so that's the first step. The second step is using a strategy. Okay? So what do I mean by this? When you use a strategy, you're pretty much asking somebody to help you out in a different way. You're asking somebody to do something to help you understand. So, this is an excellent expression, very polite. All of these start with: "Could you please". You can ask the person: "Could you please write it down?" Okay? So: "I'm sorry I didn't catch that. Could you please write it down?" Some... For some people, when they read it, it's easier than listening to it. You can also ask somebody to repeat what they're saying. "Could you please repeat that?" Okay? That means: "Could you please say it again?" A lot of English speakers and also me, myself included, sometimes we speak too fast. So, it's perfectly okay if you say politely: "Could you please speak more slowly?" Maybe the problem is the person who's speaking is talking way too fast. So just a nice, friendly reminder: "Could you please speak more slowly?" And finally, the fourth strategy: "Could you please say it in a different way?" This one is very useful because sometimes when you say to an English speaker: "I don't understand", they keep saying the same thing the exact same way, and that's not helpful. Sometimes you really need to hear it in different words, so it's also a great idea to ask the person: "Could you please say it in a different way?" Okay? So these are the first two steps. First, show you don't understand; second, use a strategy. Now let's look at the third step. Okay, so our third step is: Double check what the person is telling you. Check meaning. So, this pretty much means that after you've told them you don't understand and you've asked them to use some sort of strategy, the third thing is you're going to make sure you really understood. So, how are you going to do this? Well, one thing you can do is you can repeat back what the person said to you. Okay? So, for example, if somebody says something and you think you understand what they said, instead of just saying: "Yes, I understand", you can check by saying: "So what you're saying is..." and repeat what they said. "So what you're saying is", you know, "dogs are better than cats.", "Okay, what you're saying is the colour blue is fantastic." Okay? Just some examples. Another way to do this: "So what you mean is..." Okay? So, these two things mean the same thing. "So what you're saying is...", "So what you mean is..." And finally: "I think I get what you're saying...". "Get" in English can also mean understand. So this sentence means: "I think I understand what you're saying...", "I think I get what you're saying...", "What you're saying is..." Okay? So, again, there are three steps to being a very good listener. The first one is saying and being honest that you don't understand; the second step is using a strategy, for example: "Could you write it down please?", "Could you please repeat it?" Okay? And the final step is checking to make sure you really understood. "So what you're saying is..." If you use these three strategies, they will really help improve your conversation, because instead of not having any clue what is happening and being very confused all the time, at least you're going to be more confident, and you will understand more. You're not going to understand everything, that's okay. But these strategies will help you understand a lot more than if you just look scared, and nod and say: "I understand" when you don't. Okay? 
    Until next time, take care.

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