Lots of people are quite good with a language but still struggle to listen well. The last time I saw this an A* language pupil came out of the listening part of her GCSE and said “I didn’t understand a word of it”. No doubt an exaggeration, but not the comment of someone who found it easy and relaxing and came out sure they had performed well.

Of course, it is true that any normal human exposed to ENOUGH listening is eventually going to master listening and finding the language almost as easy as their mother’s tongue. So… the question…. as ever is not “How do we get good at listening?” but “How do we save time getting good at listening?” And as you know, if you read last week’s blog – this topic now has our full attention.

The first thing we noticed is that only about 20% of the words in the A1 curriculum are actually hard to hear. This is because most words have what we call a “distinct auditory signature”. An example would be the word “epileptic” – very easy to recognise when it is heard and unlikely to be confused with anything else or simply missed.

So seeking to improve your listening ability by just listening to movies or podcasts is likely to be successful eventually but unlikely to be efficient – because 80% of the time (that was a simplification) you’re practicing listening to words that present no difficulty. What’s good about eliminating spending time on them? Well, imagine having to study five days a week or just one.