How to Create Useful ESL Listening
Of all the skills, listening is the most difficult to teach, and ESL
listening activities can be the hardest to create.
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
Improved listening only comes with time and with
So what ESL listening activities can you, as a teacher, provide to help
your students improve their listening?
The most important thing you can do is to lead your students towards
interesting listening materials.
The internet is very useful for this,
and YouTube is a great source for genuine English listening practice.
If you do use YouTube in a lesson, however, make sure you check the
videos first. You don't want any unexpected swear words appearing in
Try and include listening practice in every lesson.
It isn't enough for
the students just to hear your voice. They need to listen to a variety
of voices and accents.
If there are some expressions that are
pronounced very differently in natural English from how they may be
(for example, "gonna, wanna," etc,) then make sure they are
aware of these.
The activities you create around the listening will give this practice
some meaning. There are several activities you can use in your lessons.
Try and vary them to avoid the students becoming bored.
ESL Listening Activities Tips
1. Play the piece at least twice
Always play the piece at least twice.
The first time the
students listen, you should give them a general question to answer, or
ask them to tell you anything they heard and can remember.
Do not give
them another activity to do until they have heard the text once already.
2. Comprehension questions
You can create comprehension questions for your students to
answer on the second listening.
This will help them listen for specific
pieces of information.
3. Fill out the blanks script
Give them a copy of the script with words blanked out. They
then listen and fill in the missing words.
This will help them focus on
the text at word level. Listening for this kind of detail is a useful
Do not give this out the first time they listen, or they will
spend their time reading, and not listening.
4. Go over the new vocabulary beforehand
You should try to pre-teach some of the difficult vocabulary they
means to teach something before using it in a real situation.
5. Splitting the piece
If the piece they are listening to is a long one, split the students
into groups and ask them to concentrate on different parts of it. If it
is a long piece then students can lose concentration and not understand
You can also play different pieces to different groups and ask
them to tell others what they heard.
Encourage your students to listen to something in English every day.
doesn't need to be a full length movie or a whole radio show. Even just
a few minutes every day can help them get used to listening to English
sounds and English words.
Even a talk radio station on in the
background while they are doing other activities will help them.
they do this, combined with the ESL listening activities in your
classes then they will certainly improve.