How Jaume Dictated His Listening Success

Jan 27, 2017 | Interview | 0 comments

If you follow what I do, then you’ll know that my conversational listening programme, Dictate Your Listening Success (DYLS), is starting next Monday, January 30th.

I ran this programme for the first time last November into December. I had never done anything like this before. But I was lucky to have five fantastic students who joined me on the adventure.

Today, one of them has agreed to share his experiences and thoughts on the programme.

Meet, Jaume, a learner based in Spain who dictated his listening success.

I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to his frustrations and struggles before taking the programme. And I hope you’ll be inspired by the progress he made during the 3 weeks of DYLS.

Cara: Jaume, can you tell the Leo Listening community a bit about yourself and your experiences learning English?

Jaume: I’m a 60 year old Medicine Specialist born and living in Spain. I studied English intensively when I was 18-20 years old. I was taught a lot of Grammar and vocabulary, but not too much of pronunciation and listening skills.

For my job, I’ve read a lot of medical English books and journals, so reading comprehension is not a problem for me. But the listening comprehension of TV series and movies, was my big problem. I understood almost nothing spoken, but reading the subtitles, most of the words were known by me.

I investigated 2 years ago what could be my problem, and I found maybe it was the so called connected speech. I took for 1 year online classes, but they were more oriented to my pronunciation. Then I found your programme, and I thought it could be beneficial for my goals.

Cara: Wow Jaume, your experience sounds like that of many learners, especially the ones I work with who tend to be in their 50s or 60s. They learned English through reading and writing, know the vocabulary and grammar, but don’t know how English really sounds.

I can understand your frustrations when reading the subtitles. If you knew the words, why couldn’t you catch them when you heard them!? Once you found DYLS then, did you have hesitations or concerns before investing in it?

Jaume: Your young age.

Cara: That’s very flattering Jaume. I’m actually 31 and I started teaching English way back in 2007. But I suppose I’m still young by many people’s standards! So, if my age was a concern, what convinced you to join DYLS?

Jaume: The price and the schedule.

Cara: Okay. The price was 50€ when you enrolled. It’s going up to 60€ tonight at 11:59PM though. As for the schedule, you and the other participants told me during the programme that 3 dictations per day, 7 days a week was the right amount. So can you tell me what you found as a result of investing in DYLS?

Jaume: I began for the first time to better understand spoken “real” English.

Cara: That must be a great feeling Jaume. I have to admit that I’m thrilled that you understood fast, conversational better after just 3 weeks. Is there anything you found particularly valuable about DYLS, or that you liked the most?

Jaume: Doing the daily exercises you require could take no more than 20-30 minutes (maybe less for a more advanced listening comprehension student than me). And this is a short time compared with other courses I have taken.

As you said at the beginning of the course, trying to listen for more than 5 times a dictation not well understood, is nonsense. In my case, I not only understand better but I began to misunderstand more!!!

Cara: My philosophy is “little and often” which is why I think it’s best to do a little bit of work every day over a certain period, rather than trying to do all your listening work in one day by watching a 2-hour film for example. So, would you recommend DYLS to other learners? And If so, why?

Jaume: Yes, to anybody with listening comprehension problems.

Cara: Great. I would add that it’s particularly useful if you struggle with conversational English, especially as all the dictations are based on real, conversational phrases. Or if you want to understand my British accent. Do you think there’s anything other learners should be aware of before they invest in this programme?

Jaume: They should have realistic goals. For me, this course is only an introduction, to know if the methodology is good for you. If yes, the real progress is investing in a private one month course with you, adapted to the learner’s specific needs.

Cara: That’s a good point Jaume. DYLS is a starting point. And working with you on DYLS has enabled me to create a personalised dictations programme for you, based on the aspects of conversational speech you find most difficult. What do you think I should do to improve this course for future participants?

Jaume: Working on word clusters in Phonology for Listening and other works of connected speech. Maybe the recording oneself and sending it to you could be omitted if the student has a lot of pronunciation problems.

Cara: Phonology for Listening is an excellent book for teachers on how to teach listening. And yes, having discussed this with you in detail, recording your pronunciation of the dictations is not an essential part of DYLS. Some people enjoy it and find it helpful, others, not so much. Thanks very much Jaume for agreeing to answer my questions and sharing your experience of DYLS.

Blog post image by the very talented Elliot Peupion.

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