Developing academic English
Develop your listening and speaking
You will need to use your listening and speaking skills if:
- your module includes online tutorials or face-to-face residential or day schools
- your study materials contains audio and video resources
- you need to contact administrative staff at the OU.
In this video, students share their stories about the challenges of listening and speaking.
Challenges of listening58
Words on screen at the start of the video: Challenges of listening.
Agron: It can be a bit of a daunting experience, trying to get as much as possible out of a, for example, tutorial, when you are trying to concentrate for every word. Sometimes you might miss out on the bigger picture.
Anna: Understanding other students sometimes was a challenge for me because some of them would have a strong regional accent.
What I didn't realise is that English can come in so many different accents, which are very difficult to follow. If you're actually surprised with the fact that someone is actually not speaking this BBC kind of English, but they actually use proper English. But then still, it sounds like a completely different language to me.
Anna: I will have to be really, really focused to understand them.
Aneta: I needed some time to adjust my listening to English language.
Listening and speaking skills activities
Here are some activities from the University of Southampton to help develop your listening and speaking skills. They are intended for students who don't speak English as a first language but native English speakers will also find them useful.
Contrasting spoken and written language
The following activities use audio extracts to explore the features of spoken language and how they differ from written English.
Prediction skills for listening
The following activities use audio extracts to explore clues that help you predict what comes next when you listen to someone speaking.
Word and sentence stress
The key content in a sentence can sometimes be picked up from the words that are emphasized or stressed. Use the following activity to practice which syllables to stress in a word and which words to stress in a sentence.