ESL Online Magazine

helping English language learners expand their skills and their lives

Want to improve your listening? Try this!

Photo credit: Travis Isaacs / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Travis Isaacs / Foter / CC BY is a fabulous resource. The website has a library of talks given by the world’s leading experts in a wide-range of fields. These talks not only  introduce you to cutting-edge ideas but can also serve as a valuable resource for your study of English.  The talks are a short 18-minutes long and are available with subtitles and transcripts. Here’s one way to use this resource to improve your English.

1. If you are a beginner or intermediate-level speaker of English, listen the first time with sub-titles in your native language. Doing so allows you to get the main idea of the talk and will then free you to focus on the language when you listen next;

2. Then, listen once or twice with subtitles in English; Look up a few key words that you might not know;

3. Next, listen again without any subtitles;

4. Write a summary of the talk.

5. Choose a small portion of the talk to use as a dictation exercise. Listen and write down what you hear. Then, check compare what you wrote with the transcript. Transcripts are given for each talk.

6. Finally, why not find an English speaking friend and tell them what you learned from the talk.

Here’s one example on the topic of “The Key to Success? Grit”. Grit is a noun that means determination and courage.  I have included English subtitles; however, you can go to and watch on their site and change the subtitles into your native language.

[ted id=1733 lang=en]


For the transcript, click here.

Photo credit: Travis Isaacs / Foter / CC BY


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