Esta entrega se enfoca en una serie de estrategias para…
One way to improve your listening and speaking skills is to listen to native speakers on a regular basis. But how can you do that in a foreign language environment (that is, in countries where English is not the primary language of communication)? Well, one way is by listening to podcasts or the radio online. One of the entries in this TOEFL Tactics Blog was about the use of podcasts freely available online (see “How to practice listening outside of class”).
What about watching television or films? Will this activity help you with your listening and speaking sections of the test? It certainly will, but because in an audiovisual medium you have a number of extra linguistic and other features (body language, tone of voice, movement of lips) you do not have on the TOEFL test, it is more useful to invest your time on just listening to different sources.
Free listening sources on the internet can mostly be found in websites? But there are millions of websites available. What websites provide free listening practice and help with pronunciation issues for the TOEFL iBT test? Here is a list of recommended websites, with a short description of what you will find and some ideas on how to use these resources.
This very complete website contains a large number of audio and video-based listening-comprehension exercises and tasks. Every listening activity is graded, making it suitable for language learners of all levels. The listening tasks focus on everyday activities, while the video-based content focuses on higher-level topics.
Innovative features of this site include an online student-study guide, help page and mailing list. This site also contains an online bulletin-board where teachers and students may post questions relating to the site.
The learning tasks require the use of freeware audio and video players which may be downloaded from this website.
This website contains more than 30 graded listening quizzes based on authentic native-speaker dialogues, so it is useful for the conversations you need to listen to in the TOEFL test.. Topics covered include family, travel, foreign customs and sports. Learners may gain access to a transcript of all dialogues, and answers to all the questions are also available. The best way to use the transcripts is to take notes on the conversation and then compare those notes with the transcript, to check you note-taking skills. An online help page and search engine are also provided. The RealAudio player is required to play the audio files, but it can be found free on the internet.
This website provides a variety of listening-based language-learning activities designed for intermediate-level learners. Most of the content is derived from BBC news and educational programs. Other areas of interest covered include sports, music and current affairs. The site provides users with access to BBC radio news reports online, and transcripts of the audio are provided onscreen. The best way to use the transcripts is to take notes on the listening (without looking at the transcripts) and then compare those notes with the transcript, to check you note-taking skills.
This site contains a variety of lectures and presentations on different topics (some of them in video format), which is useful for the lecture-type and discussions-type listenings on the TOEFL test. If you watch a video, it is recommended that you only listen to it, so that you do not have the extra help of extra-linguistic features.
This site can be used to improve reading and listening skills. There are more than 200 reading passages that are read by American speakers, which are adaptations of news from different sources. The topics of the reading passages are: working, law and government, family, school, health and safety, housing, money, science and technology, services, going places and nature. This variety of topics is similar to the topics you find in the TOEFL test. The best way to use the material is to first listen to the presentation, take notes and then compare your notes with the reading passage.
This is the Learning English section of the Voice of America site. It provides a total of seven programs to practice listening on a variety of topics. You have access to written news right away, but it is recommended that you first listen to the news in each program while you take notes and then compare those notes with the transcript.
This is the site of NPR (National Public Radio), with radio news on a variety of topics. One key feature is that you can download the radio programs to your computer as MP3 files, which you can later hear in the player of your choice. The story can also be read, but you should first listen to the story and take notes, comparing the results with the transcript later.
This is a wonderful site for videos with presentations on diverse topics. It is recommended that you only listen to the video and not watch it, and take notes at the same time. It most cases you can also check the transcript and compare it with your notes.
This site contains lectures from university professors and lecturers from MIT, Yale, Stanford, and Harvard Universities. The lectures tend to be quite long, but they will help you to prepare the lecture type of listening in the TOEFL iBT test. Use the listening to practice your note-taking and listening comprehension skills. You have access to a transcript of the lectures. As with the previous site, it is recommended that you only listen to the video.