Tag Archives: skills

Practice Listening Skills in English with Micro Dictations

Practice Listening Skills in English with Micro Dictations

This is a guest post by Chris Bargery from MicroEnglish.net. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. If you would like to feature your product or service on PurlandTraining.com, please get in touch.

Practice Listening Skills in English with Micro Dictations

Practice Listening Skills in English with Micro Dictations

Practice Listening Skills in English with Micro Dictations

When you listen to native English speakers, do you understand everything, or just enough to survive?

Most students find listening extremely difficult. Native speakers talk very quickly, connect words together, speak in a wide range of accents, and use lots of difficult language like phrasal verbs and idioms. All of this can make understanding them difficult and stressful!

Most students get very good at what I call ‘survival listening’ – understanding just enough to survive. Maybe they only understand 20-30% of what they hear, but that is usually enough to get the message, especially if they understand the context.

For example, imagine one of your colleagues says to you on Monday morning:

“Blip blap blop blep weekend?”

You only understand one thing (the word ‘weekend’), but because it is Monday morning you can make a good guess that your friendly colleague wants to hear about your weekend! You’ve survived.

The site features a wide range of listening activities

The site features a wide range of useful listening activities

This kind of listening is a very useful skill, but it is also really important for students to get better at a different kind of listening – decoding the stream of speech into individual words and phrases which you then use to understand what is being said.

Using the previous example, you would understand that your colleague said:

“What did you do at the weekend?”

Being able to correctly identify individual words and phrases means that you don’t need to make so many guesses. You are no longer just surviving, you’re understanding!

So, how do you get better at this kind of listening? The key is intensive listening.

Listen very closely to this short sentence:

Try to understand and write down every word that you hear. Listen as many times as you need to (seriously – listen 100 times if you have to!) and then check your answer at the bottom of this post.

Try to think about your mistakes. Why did you miss or misunderstand a word? Did the speaker pronounce it strangely? Was it connected to other words?

I think of this kind of listening practice as like sending your ears to the gym. It’s not easy, but it will make you a much stronger listener over time.

An interactive activity on MicroEnglish.net

An interactive activity on MicroEnglish.net

With regular practice, you will get better at automatically recognising individual sounds and phrases. You won’t need to worry so much about making guesses, so you will have more brain power available to plan what you’re going to say.

To do intensive listening, all you need is some audio with subtitles or a transcript. Ted Talks is a good start. My own site, MicroEnglish, provides lots of English listening exercises which are specifically designed to give students regular intensive listening practice. It has a large and growing archive of interactive dictations to give you practice understanding rapid conversational English in lots of different accents.

Do a little bit of intensive listening practice every day and you’ll quickly become a stronger and more confident listener in English. Good luck!

Try the interactive activity based on this phrasal verb by clicking here.

Answer to micro-dictation: I have to drop the children off at school at 9, so I’ll be with you at about 9.30.

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations (Ordered by Preposition)

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations – 4 Free Worksheets and Podcast

Listen to the podcast and download the four brand new free printable adjective and preposition worksheets:


100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations (Ordered by Preposition):

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/100-adjective-preposition-collocations-ordered-by-preposition.pdf

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations (Ordered by Preposition)

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations (A-Z List):

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/100-adjective-preposition-collocations-a-z-list.pdf

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations (A-Z List)

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations (A-Z List – Gap-Fill):

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/100-adjective-preposition-collocations-a-z-list-gap-fill.pdf

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations (A-Z List – Gap-Fill)

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations – Patterns:

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/100-adjective-preposition-collocations-patterns.pdf

100 Adjective + Preposition Collocations – Patterns
Big Grammar Book 2

FREE Podcast! Complete the Sentences (Listening Practice)

Let’s practise our listening skills with this fun activity – Complete the Sentences – which is adapted from the free Big Grammar Book 2. Download it for free now from: https://purlandtraining.com/free-books/free-big-grammar-book-2-by-matt-purland/

Matt Purland – One of the First Teacherpreneurs!

Check out my recent interview with teacherpreneur (teacher/entrepreneur) Patrice Palmer here:


Here is a sample from the interview:


What is your biggest challenge as a teacher?


Sometimes it can be hard for teachers to remain interested in the subject that they are teaching, especially if, for example, it’s the hundredth time they have explained present simple tense that month! I get over this by having the students do most of the work in the lesson time. Instead of dictating to them what they have to learn, I encourage them to discover the language points by being active in the classroom, working in pairs and small groups, doing projects, and writing on the board. When students produce in class, rather than reading a dreary course book, every class is different, because every student is unique. I developed the teaching method You Are The Course Book recently, and this really helps to stop me from becoming bored or jaded in the classroom!

Read the whole interview here:


Thanks, Patrice, for featuring me on your blog!

You can find out more about going from a teacher to a teacherpreneur with Patrice’s Advanced Skills Course here: