It is important that you develop the ability to listen to lectures and take relevant notes. The internet offers endless opportunities for extended listening practice and is particularly useful because you can listen several times to the same piece and download it onto an MP3 player or IPod to listen to at a time and place that suits you.
The list of sites below offers something of interest to students in all disciplines. Take some time to browse and bookmark those that interest you:
- The BBC is a huge resource offering print, TV and radio programmes. BBC Scotland gives you an insight into Scottish issues and concerns and an practice at listening to a variety of Scottish accents .
- The BBC World Service is a good source of a radio programmes about business, current affairs, science, technology and the arts aimed at an international audience, which makes the content more accessible. There are often links to useful websites or printed news stories, which allows you to read around a topic before listening so that you are more familiar with the issues and some of the key vocabulary.
- The English language version of Al-Jazeera, the news organisation based in Doha, in Qatar, offers a Middle East perspective on news and current affairs.
- The World is an Internet-based radio station co-produced by the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH Boston
- TED is a really entertaining and interesting site for students interested in design, technology and innovation. It describes itself as " a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 450 TED Talks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks feature closed captions in English, and many feature subtitles in various languages”
- UCTV is an internet TV channel offering lectures and discussions in all disciplines. Conversations with history, a series of interviews with internationally renowned individuals in diverse fields including economics, technology, business, science and politics.
- Texas-based Earthsky is a public service radio station which broadcasts science programmes
The BBC also produces material aimed specifically at language learners.The BBC Learning English site on the BBC World Service is a rich resource for language learners, particularly for listening practice and vocabulary development. It’s a huge site, so it’s worth spending some time getting to know it. Below are a couple of the sections of the site that our language teachers and students recommend for regular, structured general listening practice.
- Talk about English - a series of short clips about learning English and the experience of language learners around the world.
- 6-minute English - a series of short listening clips with vocabulary and follow-up reading
- A very useful archive of broadcasts of short news stories with transcripts and explanations of vocabulary. Extremely useful for people wanting to improve their vocabulary while practising listening skills
- a talk about academic listening - find out how to listen more effectively to lectures
For scripted general English listening practice for intermediate and upper-intermediate levels:
- The English Language Listening Lab on-line has short listening exercises in a variety of accents (www.elllo.org/study/english_2004.htm).
- Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening lab is an American English site (www.esl-lab.com)
- Lots of graded listening practice activities (http://esl.about.com/od/englishlistening/)