Encourage Authentic Listening

Ears and Eyes

Many times in authentic listening, we listen with the intent to share material with others. The following activities encourage students to listen with a specific task and audience type in mind.

Be someone’s ears. Imagine your aunt has been called up the jury duty and will miss an important broadcast, either an audio one like on the radio or a visual one such as a news report on TV (ex: the president’s state of the union speech). Listen closely for her noting the main points she’ll definitely want to hear. Generate a list of key words to help you remember the main ideas. Here are some variations that mesh with I (interact with other modalities):

Variation 1: Write an email to your aunt summarizing the main points in your own words (additional variation: “call” your aunt and orally explain the main points in your own words as if you are leaving her a voicemail (ask students to do in class or record themselves speaking)

Variation 2: El feisbuk  The instructor reads brief, silly passages about school staff or students. Each student fills in a Facebook “status” that summarizes the passage in one sentence then summarizes it in two words with a hashtag.

Sample Activity 


Drawing Dictionaries

Listening to stories is an ancient and universal form of listening. Listeners are encouraged to mentally paint word pictures from the story. Read from a text with key words replaced with images so that learners are able to connect new vocabulary to visual input. Teachers may read the story twice and encourage learners to jot down the words they think they heard then regroup as a class to make a glossary featuring an image and its target language word.

Sample Activity

Visual Indicators

Students listen to 3-4 minutes of a News broadcast. Each student has a red/green indicator. After the newscast, the teacher asks the students a series of questions and respond with the indicators. For example, True or False—It will rain tomorrow. True or False—The main story dealt with a political issue.