I have recently read a fantastic article (see below: Spanish) about the troubles that some people have with listening skills, and this got me thinking. Previously I have mentioned the need to improve listening skills for accademic purposes and the benefits of having good listening skills in the language learning process (COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT and LISTENING SKILLS). But what I want to point out in this post is the importance of active listening and the effort it takes to perfect listening skills.
Many language learners think that by simple being immersed in a language and hearing it frequently that they will simple come to understand it with time due to its repetition. But this is not always the case, it is all too easy for language learners to give up, this is not always a conscious decision but sometimes they simply switch off while they are not being directly spoken too. This can occur for several reasons, tiredness: it can be exhausting trying to understnd a foreign language if you have a limited vocabulary or simply because it is the easy option. The point I want to make with this post is that listening, as with other areas of langauge learning, requires effort. People who wish to one day improve their listening skills need to listen actively and try to take in as much as they possibly can. It is important to match what you expect of yourself an the level of language that you are listening to (the level of listening should be challenging but achievable), and also to take note that improving listening takes time and you need to be patient.
POSTS ABOUT LISTENING FOR EXAMS
To improve listening skills, take a look at the resources for adults section of this site, englishacrossthepond, podcastsinenglish and audioboom are great resources for improving listening skills.