Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever tried shadowing in your English learning?

Have you heard of this as an effective tactic?

If you’re like many people, you may feel silly at first when it comes to shadowing.

We are going to talk about how shadowing can be helpful, how you can best utilize it, and how it can help to take your English learning to another level.

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The Wonderful Benefits of Shadowing

We have spoken about shadowing on our show before.

There was a listener awhile back that asked a question about shadowing on Instagram.

This is such a great topic, and so we wanted to go more in depth with this to help you to understand it and the benefits of it.

There’s a helpful episode to watch which touched on shadowing that you may find to be helpful which is IELTS Energy 201: 6 English Study Strategies with Vanessa

Shadowing is a great way to practice pronunciation, and therefore it’s a great tactic when it comes to learning English.

It can help you to really get a feel for how this works, and how it is to say the words and practice in an effective way.

You will find that it can be particularly helpful for intonation practice as you can take your time to sound things out.

So if you have tried shadowing before, it’s time to revisit and make it a main focus in your language learning.

If you haven’t, then this is the time so that you can become more advanced and focus on and fine tune certain aspects of your speaking.

How Do You Set Yourself Up For Shadowing?

There are a few things to keep in mind and to focus on when it comes to shadowing.

You want to think this through and ensure that you have a few things in place to set yourself up for success.

Shadowing can be a great help, and so try to use the following tactics and tool to help you make the most of it.

  • Find something to listen to or watch: This helps you to have something concrete to follow along with. This is the basis of your shadowing because then you can focus on this to help you to follow along and shadow what you are hearing or seeing.
  • A good idea is to have a transcript: If at all possible, have a transcript of this activity nearby. Then you can follow along word for word, and you can imitate what you are seeing or hearing. It’s almost like your very own script to use.
  • Listen a few times and read along: Before you get into the actual shadowing, listen a couple of times and really take in what they are saying. Once you feel comfortable, play it again and repeat what the person speaking says as close to the moment that they are saying the words.

For example, if you are shadowing a speech Lindsay is making, it might go like this.

Lindsay read this: “Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It takes a certain type of person and I have definitely found those traits in myself. They continue as time moves along.”

You take the time to listen , slowly and carefully, and even read it a few times.

You ensure that you let it sink in and really truly understand what is being said.

Then you take a try at shadowing Lindsay, and follow exactly what she said.

You take a couple of attempts at this and really go slowly so that you practice and say it just like she said it.

Your goal in shadowing in this way is to sound exactly like Lindsay did, as that’s the essence of shadowing.

Why Does This Help?

So why do you do this?

Why do you take the time and follow along to shadow on your own?

You know that it can be a great way to improve upon your pronunciation and overall speaking.

You may have tried shadowing in the past, but never really moved forward with it as a tried and true method.

It does mean that you have to change your mindset, go into it with confidence, and get over any insecurities that you may have about this.

There is something about shadowing that can help you to get out of your own comfort level.

Rather than just focusing on the same learning tactics, you can try something new and challenge yourself in a really great way.

It helps you to go beyond the textbook in a fun and effective way.

It helps you to put to use some of the very things you have learned, in a comfortable environment and a helpful way of fine tuning the things you are saying.

It gives you practice with intonation and pronunciation as well.

It may also teach you new vocabulary and get you comfortable with grammar at the same time.

There are so many wonderful benefits to shadowing, and you will notice the difference almost instantly.

Ways To Set Yourself Up For Shadowing Success

There are many different techniques for shadowing, and you may have to really fine tune one that works well for you.

There are however some effective ways to make this a good experience and to get the most out of it.

  • Choose something you are interested in but also someone you can learn from: Go with a favorite TV show, or focus on a topic that you find interesting. Maybe consider watching someone giving a presentation—the idea is to have different contexts! Be sure to keep the subject matter interesting for you to really get motivated.
  • Choose different lengths based on your level comfort zone: Do be sure to challenge yourself to keep it interesting and to advance! Start with something shorter, then go up from there. You could even start by reading and following along several times first, then do that less as each time goes on. Mixing it up is so important here!
  • At the end, record yourself saying it on your own: Not only do you want to be sure to record yourself, but you also want to be sure that you evaluate how close you sounded to the original recording. Don’t let your insecurities get in the way, just hit the record button and then watch it back and be honest in your assessment of yourself.
  • Have a friend help! They can listen to your recording or as you are doing it so that it’s another point of view. They can tell if you’ve made any mistakes and also offer any help that you may need, which is crucial to long term success.

Shadowing is one of many ways to practice, but it is quite unique and involves helpful repetition.

It also keeps it interesting and really allows you to focus, and ensures that you are well beyond just being in a classroom all the time.

This is real life and valuable experience that will help you tremendously!


Shadowing is really fun and helpful, as it helps you to practice and really understand what you are trying to communicate.

It can help you with pronunciation and intonation in a really unique way, and it helps you to slow down and really focus on what you are trying to say.

It can help you to take your language learning and speaking up a notch.

This is a great tactic to add to your experience, and so you want to change your mindset and really embrace what shadowing can do for you.

This is how you move forward to a more advanced learning level, and how you practice in a truly comprehensive manner.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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