English learners can vastly improve their listening skills by transcribing spoken English. In fact, transcription is a fun way to improve one’s listening skills! Listening exercises can propel English learners to comprehend the sounds that they hear into words. In turn, learners must apply their thinking to convert these words into a message.
Many students try to improve their listening skills by performing listening comprehension activities. While such exercises have value, they do not teach the students how to decode individual sounds. Additionally, some English learners listen to television or radio programs, yet they do not actively follow how native speakers say words and sentences.
Contrary to what many believe, building listening skills does not have to be boring, as there are many interesting activities that build listening skills. The pinnacle of these activities is transcription work. You can begin strengthening transcription skills by finding audio or video material that has a transcript with it, and begin practicing. Doing so is extremely beneficial, as it is possible to learn from your mistakes.
Once you begin identifying your problems, and repeating the exercise, your listening skills will vastly improve.
You can start practicing transcription on your own by following these steps:
- To begin with, find an audio that comes with a transcript, but do not look at the words. Choose an audio file that is equivalent to your level of comprehension.
- Next listen to a short section of the audio multiple times and try to write down what you hear.
- Then compare what you wrote to the actual transcript.
- Finally, think about your problem areas. Ask yourself where you need to improve and also what words or sounds you did not hear.
As a learner, you should think about improvement areas. The key here is that to improve your listening skills, you need to have a positive mindset. You must believe in yourself that you can hear what is being said even if the file has a heavy or a difficult accent, or even if there is a jarring background noise. So, stay positive and motivated, and most of all, have fun!