What students most dread, are listening-comprehension exercises. Beginning students start by using the language focusing on speech, pronunciation, reading and writing. While there are listening comprehension exercises in class, they only take up about 5% of the class. Why? You can’t have them listen to long recordings in class without their minds wondering somewhere else from exhaustion.
Listening-comprehension exercises must be short and with target questions the student must answer after the session. This way, they are alert to certain words, and although they may not understand everything, they will, enough, to get the idea. Gradually, the exercises will become more complex and in this way they will progress.
Again, it is all a question of practice. Reading, conversation, movie viewing, writing and listening are all to be practiced. It is all too difficult to master them all at the same time, but setting some time aside for each activity, will inevitably lead to improve all the skills.
We suggest to start practicing comprehension with ‘News in Slow Spanish,’ which you can find in i-tunes. It is free! You get to listen to podcasts about very interesting topics, from news to Spanish grammar. It is clear and slow, but not ridiculously. Once you have mastered this program, go to other regular news stations.