A perfect listening lesson

listenListening is a highly important skill for students to practice. Last week in this post – “The Ears Have It“, we elaborated on how research outlines just how important our ears are. This week as a follow up, let’s go over the delivery of a perfect listening lesson.

There can be multiple stages to a strong listening lesson. But most importantly it should have;

1.   Preparation: a pre-listening stage where the teacher prompts student background knowledge and schema
2.  Practice: a listening stage where the students listen in whole or in part for understanding
3.  Performance: a post-listening stage where the language is applied to a similar but different context

Let’s look at a specific example of how this might look like in a classroom using a specific video lesson.  For this example we’ve chosen the video – Tokyo: A Cool City


Step 1 –  Ask students to name a few cities they have traveled to and which they think are cool.  List them on the board.  Assign students to groups and assign each group a city. Ask them to list what things there make it “cool”.  After share these among the whole class.

Notes: this prepares students for the listening lesson language/content. It may be fully teacher led or in this example, through groups of students. Usually teachers ask a series of questions of a general nature about the theme of the listening passage.  There may be pre-teaching of the listening vocabulary at this preparation stage also.

Step 2 – Play the video with the screen off. Audio only.  Ask students to tell you what it was about.  Play again, this time, ask students to listen and note at least 3 things mentioned that make Tokyo a cool city. Play again or several times as necessary.  Take up with students writing these under the name Tokyo written on the board.  Finally, play the video with the screen on (watch).  Was it as they imagined? What was different.

Notes:   It is important to let students first listen to the whole passage for gist.  Only after whole listening should the teacher than give any worksheets and get students to listen for specific information. This usually involves a “cloze exercise”.  Find many of these worksheets for EnglishCentral video HERE.  Download the worksheet for this video.  It is helpful as these worksheets do, to include a “word-bank” for students. Lower level students will appreciate this help and also you can get students to try and guess which words go where before the actual listening. This post shows teachers how to very quickly and easily make a worksheet for an EnglishCentral video using our lesson plan transcript.

Step 3 – Students use the transcript to rewrite their own video narration for a different city. In guided writing, they can just change the language in the original transcript with vocabulary of  their own city discussed in Step 1.

Notes –  application or extension doesn’t have to consist of writing. It could be a news report and speaking. It might be a task based activity that focused on the vocabulary and language of the video. Important thing is to give students freedom here, freedom to use language communicatively and purposefully, as they would in real life.

That’s it!  So get started making your listening lessons glisten with EnglishCentral video lessons! It isn’t too hard at all.  And don’t forget, students can now also study this video lesson again on EnglishCentral and “speak” the video.  Recycling in this blended learning way is the ultimate way to help your students make progress!

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  1. Listening is so important (and often so difficult) when we do it in our T2. As our team speech therapist, says, “For accurate pronunciation, the learner must first hear the sound.” Thanks for the continuing focus on our aural abilities.


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