What’s it like to work with a listening teacher?

Jul 7, 2017 | mindset | 0 comments

So, you’ve read about what you need to do to go subtitle free. And about my new programme, Freedom from Subtitles. But how does it all work? What happens when you work with a listening teacher? In this post, I’m taking you behind the scenes of what it’s like to work with me.

What you worry about before working with me

I mean, how do you teach listening? Can’t I just practice by myself?


The advantage of working with a listening teacher like me is:


  • I help you choose the right material.
  • I give you the right tasks to understand it.


This helps you reach your goals quicker than just listening or doing the wrong activities.


One of my students said that he’d spent 2 years listening to the series Friends and could now catch 60-70%. That shows amazing dedication – a key ingredient for improving any skill.


But when you work with me, I design focused activities that take you to understanding and subtitle freedom faster than just listening.

Are you going to judge my English level?


I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help and offer constructive feedback. Your level isn’t a judgement of your character: it’s just a snapshot of where your skills are at at a particular moment in time.


What I find is that my students often have stronger skills than they realise. They think their level is lower than it actually is.

Why do most listening activities not improve my understanding?


A lot of listening work doesn’t go beyond doing comprehension quizzes. This means that you might just be guessing answers and not improving your understanding.


You spend a lot of time working on new vocabulary from a clip or discussing a related topic. These tasks are useful, but you don’t go deeper into what you managed or didn’t manage to catch. This is where the real learning happens.


That’s why I work with texts and transcripts. With written support, especially if you use it after you listen, you become aware of what you missed.


With my help, I’ll show you why you didn’t catch certain parts of a clip and what you can do to improve. Something you can’t always get on your own by just re-listening to sections.  

How do I teach listening in Freedom from Subtitles?


  • When you sign up to work with me, after you pay (safely via PayPal or with your card) I send you a welcome email with a questionnaire and a welcome pack.
  • In the questionnaire, you tell me a bit about yourself (nothing too personal) and let me know which series or film you want to work on.  
  • In my welcome pack, I share everything you need to know about how to contact me, my availability and how the programme works.
  • I also give you access to the Leo Listening Level Test which will give me an idea of your abilities so I can choose appropriate clips.
  • Once you’ve filled out your questionnaire, I get started on preparing the programme. This is why I need a week to get everything ready.
  • After that, I put the activities together in Google Drive where I have a set of worksheets I use.
  • I send you the link to your Trello board and Google Drive folder and you get to work.
  • As you work through the daily tasks, I send you feedback and comments.


This is what a week of us working together looks like.


Day 1: Listen to the clip and do the activities to help you understand it

Day 2: Guess the meaning of any new words from context. Listen to them in your audio vocabulary book.

Day 3: Watch my video feedback and make notes.

Day 4: Record yourself trying to pronounce some difficult to catch parts of the clip.

Day 5: Record yourself speaking about the clip. Use the new words.

Day 6: Re-listen again for fun to the clip – how do you feel now? Test yourself: can you remember the new words?

Day 7: Take a well-deserved break!

I put these worksheets into a Trello board so that we can both see where you’re at in the programme.

Here’s a quick video tutorial on how I use Trello with my students to share worksheets and to communicate.

And another one on Memrise which is where I create your audio vocabulary book.  

Why do I work this way?


You, not the teacher, should be in control of your listening. You need the chance to listen when you want, in the way you want, repeating the sections you need to hear again. Not too many times of course – but I give you guidance on that.


I’m conscious that not all listening problems are to do with the rhythm of English, specific sounds or connected speech. Sometimes you just don’t know the words, which is why I include a vocabulary section. And a speaking task so you can integrate these new words into your own vocabulary.


I also make sure you spend most of the week listening. Days 1,2,3 and 4 and 6 all include listening elements of different types, both focused and diffuse


At the end of the week, you watch the clip again to evaluate your progress. This gives your brain a chance to digest everything and come back to the clip feeling fresh.


Here’s what my student Veronika said after her first week of Freedom from Subtitles:

Thank you for everything this week, it’s awesome. You made me enthusiastic about working on my English again!
Veronika Palovska

Branding and Copywriting Coach , Do you speak freedom?

Want to break free from subtitles with me?

Today is the last call to work with me in July. We start next Monday and finish the first week of August. I have 1 spot available. Click here to secure your place and break free from subtitles.

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