You may have downloaded our piñata video and watched it with your students. You probably then also downloaded the transcript and did a very simple listening activity in that you asked your students to watch the video and follow the transcript, i.e. to link the sound of the words with their written form.
Learning to listen – but how?
A few years ago, I attended a workshop by an AQA examiner and he explained that the reason that many students perform less well in their listening test is that there is not enough listening practice out there. There is a lot of listening comprehension testing but not enough practice that helps students improve listening performance.
In this context, a graded language learning video and a transcript are great tools for teaching listening skills as they help students to recognise the spoken form of words that they know.
And there are many more, of course. Worksheets with visuals such as pictures, symbols and maps help, as do tables where students listen and tick boxes or gapped texts where students listen and write.
But what do you do when there is neither a worksheet nor a transcript provided nor do you have time to create one yourself?
Luckily, there are activities to improve listening skills that don’t require worksheets – though they do require preparation. I would always recommend that you listen to a new video/track once, before you start using it with students.
Here then are my top 5 listening activities that don’t require worksheets:
1. Make a gesture when you hear a certain word!
Students listen and e.g. hold their thumbs up when they hear a yes or shake their heads when they hear a no. At a more advanced level they can e.g. put their hands on their head when they hear a complicated word or hold up their hands when they hear a question, a statement or a part of a sentence such as an adjective.
2. Listen for emphasis!
Students listen and e.g. hold their thumbs up when they think someone is making a positive comment on a subject or hold their thumbs down when they think someone is making a negative comment.
3. Listen for certain information!
Students listen and repeat – shout out – the information. For a quieter alternative, they write the information down. Initially names work well (people, country, town, street etc.)
4. Predict the next word!
Students listen, you stop the video/ track and students say the word(s) that they think follows/follow next.
5. Write down the words that you can hear!
Students listen and write down as many words as they can catch. Then they exchange lists and correct their friend’s list or add more words to it with a second playing of the video/ track.
Why don’t you try these with one of our downloadable MP3 tracks @ es.maryglasgowplus.com and let me know how it went?
How do you integrate listening into your lesson? Which listening activity works well for you?