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Last updated at 16:07 BST, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Academic skills


This vote has now closed. Below are the final results:


What do you think is the most important thing needed to understand a university lecture?

  1. understanding the purpose of a lecture
  2. knowing what the lecturer is going to talk about and knowing when they're moving from one point to the next
  3. note-taking
  4. participating in a lecture as an active and critical listener and being prepared to ask questions

Total votes: 1190

Figures do not represent public opinion as a whole


What do you think is the best way to improve academic listening skills?

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Wilson Couto, Brazil
In my opinion, the best way to improve academic listening skills is to practice this competence by watching movies with native english speakers from different countries. Another tip, is to set the subtitles to the english language too, so you can also improve your reading skils.

Hamed Altairi , Yemen
Good preparation is what a university student needs to improve his/her academic listening skills. For example, a student has to read something about the topic that will be discussed in the lecture. This will definitely help the student in two ways. First, pre-reading gives an idea of what the student expects to be discussed. Second, if there is something not clear when reading, then the student will be ready with questions to ask. These are sure enough to improve academic listening skills.

Ericsem, Brazil
That's really importatnt, how can I learn better? In my poor oipinion, the short and funny way is listen to a lot of programs and audios in english to try to understand the words, the expressions, the sounds, the pronounces, the jokes and so on.

Kujtim, Kosova
the best way to improve listening skills in my opinion is practising listening everyday like watching tv,listening to different documentarys and also listening the news,,the more you listen the more you train your ear to percept words

Mortaza, Iran
I think there are a number of factors that can improve students' academic listening skills: 1. students' general proficiency in English is a crucial factor. 2. students should be provided with ample opportunities to get familiar with the genre of their field. 3. they need some training in how to get the main ideas, how to take notes, and how to be active participants by having their own share and judgement 4. they need to have access to recorded lectures along with some tasks that contribute to the above mentioned skills.

I think listening to music is the best way to improve our listening skills.Because we enjoy listening to music and are entertained by it without any boring thing.

Mai moc, Vietnam
In my opinion, I think we should try to listen more and more, whenever we can

Yu-Wen, Ling, Taiwan
There are a number of methods to improve ones listening skills. As far as I am concerned, previewing the lecture would be the magic bullet.Take myself for example. My mother language is Chinese, whereas, my major in the university is English literatures. As a result, I indulge myself in English-speaking environment day by day. I have got to highlight that there is no need to spend a bunch of money to go to cram schools to learn English. If you are a music-junkie, listening to English tracks can sharpen ur listening skill without a doubt. To put it differently, watching flicks or news with English subtitles or pronunciation can train listeners quite well. The reason is that I benefit a lot from these flicks, such as Britains' got talent, Gossip Girl and Sex and the city.Take my word for it. After spending time on the listening training. Not only can fully understand my British professors' lectures fully, but get 'dazzling' grades on English oral tests. Isn't it kill two birds with one stone.Last but not least, it takes great patient and perseverance to attain ones goal(listening accomplishment). I am convinced that once the man can preview the lecture in advance, watching to related flicks or documentary and be patient to training intercourse. There would be amazing outcome!!!

Komail, Pakistan
Every one has different views but my opinion is that the best way to improve academic listening skills to get more training on the subject, keep in memory what was the lecture? then they try to understand what was the purpose of lecture and also discuss with their teacher after conversation on lecture Which i am getting thats correct or not. Then they will more able to increase their listening skills because they will understand that which lecture is heard we get correct way..

Novin Shahroudi, Iran
As I saw and read the items about lecture up there and as others chose the last item I prefer to decide the last item too. But why? I think the most important thing about lecture is getting involved with the subject and we have got to have an active discussing in class. I think the best and complete item is the last one! But it doesn't mean the other items are not important!

Isa, Turkey
I think the most important thing to improve listening skill is listening again and again.It can be diffucult for everyone.Second,we need to memorize a lot of academic words.Today there are many English videos on the Internet.We do not need to listen to all of them.We should find good programs that including academic words.Otherwise it could be waste of time.As an example documentaries are more educational programs for listening skills.

Hau, Vietnam
Thanks alot for all the comments. These help me to improve my knowledge, my point of view of listening skills. These comments are very helpfull.

Mahesh Chandra Dash, India
Listening Skills demand a great deal of attention as well as concentration.The listener can pick up key words or phrases or other similar matter and jot them down on a piece of paper as soon as he/she hears them.Note-making and Summarizing these points later will certainly help a learner improve his/her academic listening skill significantly.

Mohammed, Oman
In my view, the purpose of listening is to understand the speaker's message. Therefore, anyone who wants to improve his/her academic listening skills,he/ she should listen regularly and frequently to academic issues that are produced in BBC or other media. Doing so might aid a lot to improve one's academic listening skills.

Wim, Netherlands
Try every day to listen to BBC Radio especially when there are programs about science and enviromental subjects and of course listen to the news

A.K.Ponir, Bangladesh
As much practise as possible is the best way to improve academic listening skills,participating and understanding the purpose of a lecture as an active listener,listening english news, reading english newspaper and knowing new vocabolary and practising by making note. the easy way i say to improve ur listening skills.....follow the B.B.C

Bill Dimadis,Greece
In my view,what you really need in order to improve your listening skills is simply by doing more practice in a vast area of relevant lessons in the university's library. By this I meant that, you definitely have to do whatever is possible in your power so as to try as hard as you can to read more subjects of great importance. In this case,is likely to be accustomed to a variety of issues and then it is much more easier for you to confront with any task in the academic life. In addition to this, a good idea would be to listen to the radio or simply watching the news on TV in your attempt to explore your horizons and finally to start being confident with your listening and oral skills. Last but not least, you simply have to try harder and harder, if you really want to exploit a tremendous amount of benifits in your life for years to come.

Hoa, Vietnam
There are many things that we have to do to improve our academic listening skills.First, try to learn as many vocabularies (of every subject that we can reach) as possible, especially what you need for your course. Why don't we understand what the speaker says? Is it because we don't know that word? Second, learn how to pronounce words correctly. Some people told me that they were not able to hear some words. When I wrote them down, they said "oh, I know them". I asked them to pronounce those and then let them listen to tape once again. There were some differences. Third, of course, we have to practice listening as much as possible. There are a lot of sources available 24 hours a day for us such as BBC, TV, films...To sum up, I think we should be focused on what to be prior to develop, be active and flexible. We have to know the purposes of the lectures and find down some information beforehand so that we can keep up with the talk. Then,don't hesitate to ask. Hope that all of you and I will be good English speakers and be successful in life.

I agree with the person that said it is important to share knowledge about the subject of the lecture if students know about it and are truly interested their motivation will increase the ability to understand. Sometimes it creates more problems to understand pieces of conversational English

Huntley, Italy
repeat mentally every word the lecturer utters so that the brain cannot be distracted by anything. It seems that the brain can only hold one thing at a time, fill that space with the word or words of the teacher. You cannot lose the meaning of what is said by this practice and it help the memory. Use gaps in the flow of the speaker's language to quickly gather your thoughts about what he/she said. Then repeat. It has helped a lot while the teacher sees you're responding.

David Lumaya, Khartoum Sudan
commenting on my own experience,i think the best way to improve academic listening skills is to listen to BBC NEWS.Its where you can listen to the best pronunciatons,best language style expressions and best accent. In this way, no word uttered passes your ear without you noting it down.

Fabio, Brazil
I agree with our friends and I would like to share some important points:1) Try to listen to and watch English talks, lectures (Open Course Ware: Yale, MIT, and others subjects that enjoys you. Do it every single day. Make it a habit. Listen to these stuffs in your car, mobile, TV, PC, in your free time, and so forth;2) Prior to the classes: Preparation (reading and listening trying to identify unknown words and expressions about the subjects of your interest); 3) During the Classes: Make lots of internal questions (for yourself) during the lecture, but trying to answer them. During the learning session, if you couldn't answer them. Ask for help. This can make you more focused on the affairs.Sorry, I'm Brazilian but I love the Spanish language too. 4) After that: Review the material 1 day later, 1 week later, 1 month later accordingly your needs. If you do that, you will be surprised how much you will improve yourself (Vocabulary, Memory, English language).5) It would be nice if you have, in your mobile or Notebook, an electronic dictionary English-English, of course. Avoid using it during the classes. It would be better if you use it before or after the lectures; and6) Be patient with yourself and enjoy the learning process, make lots of friends and speaks a lot about different affairs.

Arita Takahashi, Latvia
I think it is useful to record the lectures on a digital dictaphone. I sometimes cannot concentrate on the topic or do not find it interesting. If I later realise the topic of the lecture was interesting, I can play the recorded lecture on my computer and re-discover the places in the text that seemed boring at the beginning.

Bong Hue Ming, Indonesia
We can improve our academic listening skill by, among others, having a general picture of the lecture before attending it, anticipating the things which will be talked about during the course of the lecture and trying to take note of the main ideas of the lecture.

Ines, Ecuador
The best way is to get familiar with the sounds of the language. The moment we listen to a word, it is good "to visualize" the word in the written form to connect the written and the spoken form.

Listening is the best way to improve listening.Yesterday I was at UNIBERO (the university where I'm getting ready to be a translor and interpreter) watching a lecture and the professor said: '' People often say that reading is the best way to improve all the skills and also get culture.But to improve reading you have to read a lot, to improve writing, you have to write a lot! if you wanna improve your pronunciation SPEAK A LOT! " I mean it doesn't matter whatever you want to do, if you wanna develop a skill,you have to practice the skill itself.

Nayde, Brazil
1.Knowing the what will be discussed is essential as you must have an interest in the subject. 2.Listening with full attention will enable you to better understand and follow the subject in discussion thus renewing your interest. 3.Take notes only when it will be a relevant point to be remembered - give priority to listen instead of writing.

Awder, Iraqi-Kurdistan
i think listening and talking is the best way to learn a language, i have studied grammar and vocabulary for nearly 6 8 years, but my English was not enogh good, but now i am listening to the news and watching films for nearly 2 years, i think my English improved that i get advantage more than the 6 years, so listening and talking is the best to learn anew language, a baby learns to speaks just from listening so listen....listen.....listen and listen....

Su Nguyen
From a view of foreign leaners I've been spending long time to learn this kind of skill which most of us reckon that is the most difficult. Listening to all boarcasting media is the best of all, never get bored and set up an objective and think of it before you listen. Listening is the first skill in our lives when being a child. You should pay all attention of your senses to the intonation, pitch that come out the discourse's speaker and take certain important note to master all the topic given.

Jagannath Pattnaik,India
Listening to the news,group discussion,current affairs programme on radio can help us improve academic listening skill

Ameera, UAE
its important to take some notes during the lecture but try to not write a script for the lecture and just listen. Dont be shy for asking any questions. focusing and pay attentions for what the lecturer says will hwlp you to know what he is saying and the perpose of his talk.

Monorien Christophe, Nigeria
To improve academic listening,one must have adequate knowledge of the topic before the lecture and this can be done by engaging in researh related to the topic. ln addion, one must listen critically and raise questions that will help to clarify seemingly unclear ideas.Good note-taking-skill can as well help,

Tereza, Czech Republic
I think, the most important is understanding the purpose of a lecture. Without it students cannot do the other things (asking questions etc).

MJ, S.Korea
Follow the stream of a lecture. Do not listen to every words. If you focus on intonation, stress, and pitch in the speech, you won't miss what the lecturer want to talk about. Note-taking would be a good way to remember specific information but you might miss the flow of the speech when you try to write it down. Therefore, the best way here is to enjoy participating in a lecture! The more you enjoy it, the better your listening is in a lecture!!

Simonetta Resta, Italy
I agree with the person that said it is important to share knowledge about the subject of the lecture if students know about it and are truly interested their motivation will increase the ability to understand. Sometimes it creates more problems to understand pices of conversational English

Shakeel Amjad, Pakistan
Listening a lecture requires an active involvement in the lecture not only giving a full physical response but also a mental one to lecturer. The listener needs to be attentive, unbiased, critical and obviously not jumping at the conclusion.An important aspect of academic listening is the ability of the listener to be able to recognize discourse markers of the lecturer to effectively relate different bits of information being given by the speaker.The ability to understand discourse markers can be very helpful in improving academic. listening.However, a prior investigation of the vocabulary of the topic can be of great help.

Peter B, Germany
Find out as much as you can about the topics under discussion before attending lectures. Don't just go to the library, though. Brainstorm the subjects for yourself as you may already know more than you realise and this also helps you to "discover" your attitude towards the subjects. Knowing how we feel about something helps us to be more receptive. You should always attend lectures having a mental list of questions you want answered - critical listening requires a degree of enquiry!

Carlos, Colombia
For me the first step is to be informed of the topic, in order to have a general view of the lecture; second, we ought to read a bit about the topic, it is quite important to support your ideas with the quotes of an expert and it will help you to get familiar with the specific vocabulary of the lecture. Third, take notes is rather important because il lets you foucus on the aspects that you consider as vital

Active listening is the bottomline. Not only should you listen to the lecture,you have to critically evaluate the crux of the lucture. Don't bother too much about the jargons and unfamiliar words. Take care that you don't lose the thread of the matter being dealt with.

Monica Rubly, Brazil
Since Academic Lectures are of a higher level, in my opinion, it is very important to be prepared to understand as much as possible. So it would be advosable to have some knowledge of the lecture beforehand, practice listening, improve vocabulary, and learn how to criticize in a constructive way.

Samson Sobo, Nigeria
By focusing your mind on what you want to listen to, no side distraction.

Joshua, India
To improve the skills of listening, we need more classroom interaction which is very poor in developing countries like India due to lack of competent teachers and resources.The student-teacher ratio is another problem in most of the heavily populated countries.To over come this problem, we need to improve technology like virtual classrooms to reach every nook and corner, the quality education.

Henda, France
The academic listening skills are not enough to have a personal culture, and further to have a very interresting skill : criticism. Knowledges are neigther definitive nor permanent. But they are always changing because of the human history process. Every teacher have the obligation to help his students learning criticism. It's a very intelligent thing, one of those skills that we less and less develop in a world where communication implies our mutual comprehension even though we are in endless conflicts. It's one of the most important value we have to carry to save human life and even the whole world.

Caroline, Romania
If it is given that vocabulary is not the issue in a listening situation, active participation, thus speaking on the same themes, would be one way to help and improve a student's understanding of the themes being presented.

Djahida T, Algeria
Throughout my experience, I can say that the practice is the best way to learn anything as well as listening, I personally started improving my listening skills with my teachers but it was not enough therefore, I decided to practise it by myself by listening regularly to what is said in Engilish around me, and if the topic required interaction I would not hesitate to do it even if mistakes were expected because I was sure that being involved in the discussion is a good way to improve as well as to learn.

Runston, Sri Lanka
If one improves the skill of summarizing, he or she can improve academic listening skill as well. Of course, note taking skill too should go along with this.

Massa, Japan
Get some knowledge about what will be told and make what you want to know clear, before listening. Enjoy listening, picking up what interests you. Take notes when you hear what you think is important or interesting. Ask questions if you can. Afterwards, review what you listened and organise your idea about the lecture.

Eran, Israel
In my opinion the best way to improve academic listrning skills is to make a short university lectures for beginners in English, something like "6 minute" only longer and without explaining every single word, of course I'm talking about audio lecturs in simple subjects... adcenced "6 minute"

Fazal Ahmad, Kuwait
Before the lecture, I think you should research the topic, especially if you expect to encounter technical terms. The preparation also gives you the chance to spot possible difficulties. While attending the lecture, it is a good idea to record it, so you can pay attention and be an active listener. After the lecture, it is best to comment it with your peers and also go over what you've recorded, if you have done so. The final step will also be part of your preparation for the next lecture, so it should become increasingly easier to prepare.

Thoa, Vietnam
In my opinion, listening a story from CD or radio could be the best way to improve the listening skill since by doing it, we will not only practice to reconize the words but also to learn how the words are used in situations.

Luis Steve, Mexico
Well, i think the best way to improve academic listening skills, is to know or identify the theme as soon the lecturer starts. make a general idea of the whole context. examples of the theme must be show. and the changing of the theme must be part of the teachings, but at the same time connected with it. the lecturer has to have a good rythm of teachings, making examples, showing the diferences with other points o views. and finally the student should take notes to later understanding to remember the whole theme.

Ricky, Canada
Of course, we need to take notes and concentrating on the topic. But learning should not be as static as that. We need to get involved; some topics require interaction and discussion. It also helps to integrate the new content.

Surja Wahjudianto, Indonesia
I believe listening to a cassette or CD over and over again is the best way. It makes you familiar with words, phrases and sentences spoken. I have improved my listening skills a lot by doing so.

Buingocde, Vietnam
you should focus on stress, intonation and rhythm of sentences.

Jan Bone, USA
practicing active listening--through radio and tv broadcasts, taking notes, learning about and listening for speaker "cues" in presentations and lectures (e.g., "first," "three important factors", "primary cause..." etc.),

Putu Sukmaantara, Indonesia
I believe there are many good TV programs/channels you can watch, such us Discovery, CNN, Planet Animals and many more. In my situation, participating in lectures by (English) visiting lecturers is essential.

Arief, Indonesia
By activating our senses such as our hand by note-taking, our eyes by reading the direction if it is there and our body by making relax as much as possible. And of course our ears..

Note taking is the best way to improve your listening skill.Take notes of every thing done during lecture will help you to become a excellent listener.

June, S.Korea
The most important thing to fully understand univeriy lecture is knowing special terms used in the course before you taking the lecture. as such medical laguage or someting like that.

ESL Teacher, USA
I really agree with the comments about reading up on the subject before the lecture. This is a way to prepare for the vocabulary and improves the ability to recognize words and phrases without getting hung up on the meaning of each and every one. While not every presenter offers one to listeners, an outline of the presentation is ideal. I am also a big believer in making a few notes as the speaker goes along, it helps focus and provideds follow-up questions to clarify anything confusing.

Concepcion Boix, Spain
Practicing a variety of listening activities both in class and outside it. Making students aware of the usefulness of listening to be able to communicate and also of their own listening abilities.Providing the students with tapescripts after having practiced an audio activitymay be useful as rewarding and motivating.

Watanyoo, Thailand
I always use participating in my class rooms in order to keep concentration and understanding.

Pramod, India
Make sure you have a keen interest in the topic and you don't want to miss a single point. Try to reflect while you are listening as this helps you to comprehend the subject in a more elaborate way. Do not eschew the examples of theories provided by the speaker.

Patricio, Chile
Before the lecture, I think you should research the topic, especially if you expect to encounter technical terms. The preparation also gives you the chance to spot possible difficulties. While attending the lecture, it is a good idea to record it, so you can pay attention and be an active listener. After the lecture, it is best to comment it with your peers and also go over what you've recorded, if you have done so. The final step will also be part of your preparation for the next lecture, so it should become increasingly easier to prepare.

Asset, Kazakhstan
I think the best way of improving listening skills is listen to several sources of audio and video information, such as radio, tv and so forth... As i've recently started listening bbc radio5. I wouldn't say that i comprehend 100% of speech there and if someone wants to diversify their english i would advise to watch scientific and news tv channels as well. I regard it as the only and the cheapest ways of learning english.

Happysmile, Japan
Listening to the right English more is the best way to improve academic listening skills. We sometimes hesitate to ask for more explanations in detail and can't get to the points under discussion. Most of Japanese learners like to take their notebooks on lecture. I think tring to ask some questions and participating in the lecture actively are important.

Todd, USA
You should practice with a friend stuff like reciting back lists or research the internet for helpful tips to improve your listening skills.

first your listening should have a pupose for answering questions or for learning new vocabulary then you encurage yourself to listen

C. M. Chen, China
I think some Docmentary films such as or are quite similar in style with the academic leture, so it will be helpful to watch these videos, especially without subtitles is better, so as to improve the academic listening skills.

Ahmed Jama, Somalia
I think the best way to improve academic listening skills is to listen more to English media like BBC, CNN etc, to listen more for improvement

Kuanysh, Kazakhstan
I think participating during the lecture as an active litener, would be the most effective way!

Lahcen, Morocco
to improve academic listening skills the learner needs to listen to discussions like debate and listen to music .....

Nyayiha, Rwanda
The best way to improve academic listening is being in place where English is spoken most of time and where one is obliged to use English to explain himself.

Miaoi, China
Before taking a university lecture you should do some researches and preparations. You can learn some background of the topic from the Internet and don't forget to pick up some new words you'll probably encounter.

Teacher, UK
One of the best ways to improve critical listening skills is to prepare by having questions about what you hope to learn propr to the lecture, engage with the key themes of the lecture and use what you learn to build up research and ideas- talk to your class mates!

Pepi, Spain
By listening and reading as much as possible.

Ibrahim, Syria
listen a lot to:* native speakers * good English speakers.* listening comprehension tapes.* News on TV

Adelson, Brazil
1 - Overcoming anxiety; 2 - Creating a (nearly) 100% focus; 3 - Developing powerful liguistic associations; 4 - Thinking of sentence and phrases rather than isolated words; 5 - Trying to predict (what and) how the speaker is going to express; 6 - Reflecting on what and how a was developed; And so on and so forth...

Murali Nair, India
Ask and you will be given, Knock and the door will be opened is a wise advice from Jesus Christ. When Mark Antony was asking the Romans to lend their ears to him he was stressing the need for proper listening. Teachers must always bear this idea in mind, when they are giving a lecture or a class.

Elena, Russia
I think, that listening to lectures is a copmlex skill for non-speakers since you have to understand the essentials of the information and to modify it at the same time for taking down notes which are understandable. So one can use a dictaphone at the lecture. You can analyze the recording later, fill in the gaps or improve misunderstandings in you notes. It's especially helpful with understanding new words and terms you haven't caught up in the speech stream.

Barry, Israel
Expanding and enriching voocabulary is a vital part of improving listening skills but of course actually listening to as much English as possible is the best way.

Sandra Pires, Brazil
To my mind, one of the best ways to improve academic listening skills is listening to academics in lectures and lessons as much as possible and dicuss about their ideas with other students afterwards.

the best way to improve academic listening skills is that liste to english programmes

Eid Ramadan, Egypt
To be an active listener is the best way to understand the lecture. It gives me the chance to discuss the information I have conceived which could be right or wrong. I will not be able to appreciate my misunderstanding unless I discuss.

Deb Raj Limbu, Nepal
For me tademiche following helps improve academic writing:1. Background study of what the lecture will be on2.Signalling terms used by the lecturers used during the lecture also allow the listeners to direct their attention to how the lecture is organized. Understanding of this will enable the students what are the main points and how they relate to each other.3. For those who have not done background study, understanding of the structure of lecture may be a useful guideline. A lecture, as is a writing, is divided into at least three parts: introduction, body part and conclusion. If a student understands the introduction part well, he has the chance to understand the rest as well.

Gook, Thailand
Practice listen everyday. such as listen radio in the morning everday.

Agnieszka, Poland
In my humble opinion listening to all kinds of English material would improve our academic listening skills a lot. By practising listening, we learn how to listen and it's much easier when you end up in a lecture...

Without understanding how and when the lecturer is moving from one point to the next is very difficult for the listener to follow up the lecturer's thoughts and consequently the most important part of the lecture goes lost.

Gilson, Brazil
In my opinion, the best way to improve yout listening is to listen everyday, even 5 minutes. Take a time and listen something everyday in english.

Alice M, France
The best way to improve academic listening skills is to be used to listening to this type of material! thus we can improve the needed vocabulary and the phrases and expressions that are common in the academic field.

Tushar Kantio Roy, Bangladesh
There is a number ways to improve academc listening skills like watching english news as well as watching english movie,reading news paper,novel,talking with others in english etc.

Hani, Egypt
to be able to improve listening ability, the rules of pronunciation should be acquainted,especially linking

Le Thi Ngoc Phuong, Vietnam
Listen as much as posible for many kinds of materials and then analyze the tapescipt

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