Listening to Lectures in English

For anyone thinking of studying abroad at a university in an English speaking country, one of the big challenges will be listening to lectures and taking notes. Today's activity will help you to practice and develop this skill using authentic lectures from The British Academy.

These lectures are around an hour long, but you don't have to listen to the lectures all at one time, in fact it might be better to listen in segments of around ten minutes until you build up your listening and note taking skills.


  • Go to the British Academy site at: and scroll down the list of lectures. Try to choose one that sounds interesting. I would recommend 'A Question of Culture' as the speaker has a good clear voice and speaks at a good steady pace.
  • When you find a lecture that interests you, click on the ear icon on the right.
  • This will show you a brief introduction to the lecture. You should read it first before you listen. Then get some paper and a pen ready to make notes.

  • Then click on the 'Hear lecture now' link and the audio player will open in a pop up window. It may take a little while to load. When it has finished, click on the 'Play' button and start listening and taking notes.

  • Try taking notes for around 5 - 10 mins. At first you can use the pause button so tat you have time to write. You may also want to do some background research on the topic to help you understand. You could do this by taking some keywords from the introduction and searching Wikipedia for more information.
  • Try to do this for about 10 mins each day. This will soon start to develop your listening and note taking skills.
Good luck. Try some more listening activities

Related links for teachers:


Nik Peachey

I spotted the link to this site on the Micronarratives blog

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