English Listening – Improve your listening by watching TV

How can I improve my  English listening?

English Listening – Improve your listening by watching TV!

English Teacher Eadaoin Curtin

by Éadaoin Curtin

English teacher in Everest

Listening and understanding is often very difficult for language learners. Maybe your listening in the classroom is fine but having conversations and watching tv can be more difficult.

The easiest way to improve your listening outside the classroom is by … watching TV!

BUT it’s very important that you watch series which are interesting to you, you shouldn’t feel like you are studying.

English listening Improve listening

Try watching a TV show you’ve never seen before. Watch it in English with the subtitles (in English!) for 3 or 4 episodes, then try to watch without the subtitles. You could watch one episode with subtitles, then one without subtitles. The episode you watch without subtitles will be more difficult, so you can try taking breaks every 15 or 20 minutes.


Websites to help you improve your English listening

Ororowww.ororo.tv – €5 per month, €12 for 3 months.

Movies and tv series

You can watch with English subtitles, you can slow the speed of the show and you can watch in dual subtitles (Spanish, Italian, Portugese, French, Polish, German, Russian)

A lot of great new and old TV shows and films.


Grey’s Anatomy – medical drama

The Night Manager – spy thriller

Dr House

How to Get Away with Murder


Futurama – Animated comedy set in the future

Lie to Me – detective drama

The Gilmore Girls – drama

Black Mirror

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – comedy

The Sopranos



The IT Crowd


Netflix www.netflix.com – €8 – €12 per month, the first month is free.
Movies, documentaries and tv series.

You can watch with and without subtitles, usually only English.  


Recommended shows on Netlfix

Fringe – Sci-fi / drama

Marco Polo – history – the main actor is Italian.

Sherlock – detective

House of Cards – American political drama

Breaking Bad – a chemistry teacher becomes a drug dealer

Scrubs – medical comedy

Vikings – a good mix of accents

Wilfred – better with subtitles

How to Get Away with Murder – about student lawyers in America

The Vampire Diaries – Two brothers who are vampires

Sense8 – An international cast so lots of great accents, about people with a supernatural connection.

Sons of Anarchy – American motorbike gang

The Wire – diffcult, better with subtitles.

Narcos – about Pablo Escobar – 50% in Spanish so no need for subtitles!

The Sopranos

Dr House – medical drama

The Killing – detective drama

The Newsroom – about journalists


Channel 4 On Demandwww.channel4.com – Free
Channel 4 is a popular British TV channel which makes great documentaries and series, and a lot of reality TV shows. They show them on TV but you can also watch them here ‘on demand’.

You can find older series in the Boxsets section, www.channel4.com/programmes/boxsets.
Accents – English, Irish, some American.
No subtitles.


Recommended shows on Channel 4:

Black Mirror – about how technology is affecting our lives.

The IT Crowd – two computer nerds in a big corporate company.

Mis-Fits – teenagers with super powers.

Skins – teenagers lives, dark and dramatic.

Fr. Ted – an Irish comedy about 3 priests

Catastrophe – An Irish woman and an American man have a baby by accident.

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