A large percentage of language students are in one of 2 categories:
1 – they have no problems expressing themselves but have a hard time with comprehension
2 – they usually understand others but have a hard time speaking
Today I would like to address the students who have a difficult time with comprehension.
There are many reasons why you may not understand someone, but one that you have control over is how you listen.
A bad habit to let go of is to freeze when you hear a word you don’t understand. The other person is going to keep talking, so if you freeze while you think about what that one word means, instead of not understanding a word or two, you’re not going to understand the majority of the conversation.
A good habit to get into is to listen to entire thoughts before asking for clarification. Let someone get a few sentences in while you try to figure out what they’re saying, before asking them to repeat it. Think about the context, pay attention to their body language and their facial expressions and think about what the conversation is about as a whole, to try and figure out what they’ve just said. You don’t need to understand every single word. If you think about it, you probably don’t in English either!