Thursday, 1 April 2010

Teaching Listening to ESL Students

Updated 17 February 2012

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Basic Tips
  • Do your research. There are lots of great ways for students to practice listening.
  • Do comp checks. Stop every once in a while and make sure students understand what is being said.
  • Look online. There are lots of lesson plans and worksheets in the lesson planning link.
  • Walk around the room. There are always a couple of students who just don't get it.
  • Listen to a variety of accents. It's hard for native English speakers to understand some accents, so imagine what your students are going through.
  • Play games. There are ways to make learning fun. 
  • Use different activities. Multiple choice, fill in the blank/gap, take notes, making speakers to sentences, correct the mistakes, true / false, or yes/no, etc.
  • Use the tapescripts.  Using both listening and reading will double their comprehension.
  • Different listenings. Use interviews, stories, the news, sports, etc for listening exercises.
  • Be patient. If you pressure your students it'll only make it harder.
  • Dictation. You can use a reading text you've gone over or simply make your own up.

General Test Taking Tips
  • Read and follow the instructions. It only takes a minute or two and can save you a lot of time if you look at the instructions.
  • Forget cramming. You should study a little every day rather than trying to learn everything the night before.
  • Eat breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day and is necessary to help you think.
  • Bring your materials. Have your pencils, erasers, watch, and ID ready the night before.
  • Go early. Make sure you leave your house ahead of time so that you get to the class a few minutes before the test begins.
  • Pace yourself. If you've finished early, go back and check your answers.
  • Check your answers. Make sure you haven't made any simple mistakes.
  • Don't panic. It's just a test. The worst you can do is fail.
  • Don't leave blanks. Guess if you don't know.

Specific Test Taking Tips for Listening
  • Skim the questions beforehand. Figure out if you'll need dates, times, names, verbs, etc.
  • Beware of false answers. The speaker will often mention all the opinions so don't just pick the first answer you hear.
  • Don't tune out. You have to listen to the entire thing.
  • Be ready. The first answer to the first question might be in the first sentence. So start listening right from the beginning.
  • Synonyms and antonyms. Sometimes none of the answers look correct. For example if the speaker says, "My friend's not tall." the answer might be "short".
  • 100% or nothing. Your answer should be 100% correct.

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