ISLPR Language Services Blog

Let Lockdown help your English! (Listening Skills)

Posted by on Apr 19, 2021 at 10:26 AM

What Lockdown or Quarantine does to your English:

Help? Yes, but only if you do the right thing!

For people who use English as a second language, the lockdown period can badly affect your English proficiency if you don’t take steps to maintain it.

Regression: The effect can be just as bad as happens to international students who struggle to develop their proficiency, get what they need and then return home for the summer holidays and don’t speak, hear, read or write English for several weeks.  Invariably, when they return to Australia, they find their English has regressed and they have lost a lot of proficiency.

Develop your English while in Lockdown

What to do: Here is some advice on what you can do to maintain your proficiency and go on developing it. We have broken this down into four separate blogs. Today’s blog post is on developing your listening skills.

In general:

  • Use English as much as possible. The most basic principle in language learning is that language is learned through use. The more you use it, the more it will develop.  You must use it, speak it, listen to English speakers, read, and write every day.


  • The same principles apply to listening: the more you listen to fluent native speakers, the more your listening skills will develop.
  • Listen to ABC radio and television as much as possible“ at least an hour every day but have it playing whenever you are doing other things, taking a shower, cooking a meal and so on. On Radio National (, you will hear more serious programmes on a great range of topics from news and current affairs to education and so on.  ABC local radio has news and information about your own city and State. ABC Newsradio has Australian and international news all day every day.  SBS also has high quality programmes with well educated speakers of Australian English.
  • As recommended for Speaking, listen to well educated native speakers on SBS or ABC radio, on the ABC webpage or on the ABC Listen app and copy the way that the people speak. That will also encourage you to listen more intensively.
  • If you already have a relatively high level of proficiency, as most teachers have, listen to a variety of radio stations but especially ABC local radio where you will hear talk-back and a range of native Australian English speakers speaking everything from Broad to Educated or Cultivated Australian English and also many people speaking with a range of non-native speaking accents.
  • Make use of the ABC webpage where you can listen to any of the many ABC radio stations around Australia with a great range of accents and of topics discussed.
  • There are a lot of podcasts on the ABC webpage. Download some to listen to. If you have them on your computer, you can stop and replay them until you understand them readily. As already suggested, you can also practise speaking by copying (“echoing”) what you hear.
  • Watch and listen to DVDs or TV programmes in English and turn on the English subtitles (if they have them) so that you can listen and read.
  • Again, to develop your listening skills: listen, listen, listen.

Are you interested in more personalised help with your speaking? Now is the perfect time to try out an ISLPR English tutorial! We’ve discounted our tutorial prices for the next few months. We also have a special tutorial package available until 30 June 2020.

In the next couple of weeks we’re launching an online English course! This will be a 12 week course that aims to develop your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Subscribe to our blog to be kept up to date.