Tell me if that’s you:
- You listen to English while driving, cooking or exercising
- You sometimes dare to watch a movie or TV series in English
- You consume quite a lot
BUT YET it doesn’t really translate into a good exam result.
If that’s you – keep reading because I’m going to show you how to learn more effectively by using 3 active listening strategies.
But let’s start with explaining what PASSIVE LEARNING is. In this post I will focus in particular on passive listening.
Passive learning is when you receive a lot of input. You learn new information, you study, but don’t use your knowledge in a practical way. It’s like reading a book about how to learn English or the English grammar book but never applying it in real life. It’s being in the PREPARATION MODE.
You are able to convince yourself – hey, I’m moving forward, I’m doing something, I’m progressing, whereas what you usually do is just procrastinating taking action.
You can see where the trap is, right? Even you end up believing yourself. It’s the ILLUSION OF LEARNING.
Let’s take LISTENING.
Passive listening is when you e.g. play a podcast in the background and in the meantime you are doing 5 other things. It’s listening without paying a constant attention.
This type of listening makes sense:
- when you are at the beginning of your language learning journey and want to get used to the sound and intonation patterns of a language.
- It makes sense when you moved abroad and you are ‘absorbing’ the language before you feel ready to speak. It happened to me when I moved to Spain.
- It also makes sense when you are listening an audiobook – whether for fun or learning new content.
However, this type of listening will not be nearly as effective as active listening when you prepare for a language exam, especially STANAG, SLP or JFLT exam.
Why? Because ALL EXAM TASKS require you to listen actively:
- You need to make sense of the information given by quickly processing it in your head
- You need to understand the big picture and catch the details
That’s a lot of work and if your brains is just used to working in a ‘lazy’ / passive way – you might not see results you desire.
ACTIVE LISTENING is when you give 100% attention. Sounds like a lot of work? Cause it is.
Here’s how you can incorporate ACTIVE LISTENING into your exam practice.
- Transcribing speeches
- Summarizing a longer piece with your own words
- Shadowing a speaker
Watch my YouTube video to see how they work in practice.
If you are interested in the topic and would like to dive deeper into it – check out my LISTENING: Active practice Masterclass, where I show you by using different audio and video materials how to practice ACTIVE LISTENING.
You’ll learn a lot not only about strategies, but also which accents are the most challenging for you and some nuances of the connected speech.
SO, to wrap it up – if you want to start seeing results faster – use passive listening as an addition to active learning. Do not rely on it only.