Put your students into small groups. Ask them to look at the comprehension questions in their coursebook. Tell them to guess the answers to each question. They should discuss their possibilities and come to an agreement. Give a limited time for this. Groups will win a point for each correctly guessed answer. Play the CD. Students listen and award themselves points. The group with the highest number of points wins.
Dialogues, especially those designed to practise social English, are ideal for a prediction activity. Play the first line of the dialogue and press Pause. Invite the students to call out the next part. Accept any answers. Some students will probably say the ‘right answer’. This isn’t important. What is important is that they will be thinking of all the possible responses. Give students plenty of time to respond and then press Play so that they can ‘check’. Continue in this way with the whole of the dialogue. It’s noisy, but fun! What’s more, it generates a lot of language.
Start by giving your students information about who is being interviewed. Then put students into pairs and ask them to write down five questions that they expect to hear the interviewer ask. Walk around looking at the students’ questions and drawing their attention to any errors. At this stage students should be concentrating on writing questions that are grammatically correct. Explain that if they hear one of their questions they get a point. If it is worded exactly the same they get a bonus point. Play the CD and get students to listen carefully to the questions and award themselves points.
This activity can be done with almost any recording. It is great for getting students to think carefully about which words go together and which words do not. First, choose between six and ten collocations from the tape script – making sure that some word pairs are at the beginning of the recording and some are at the end. Dictate the list of ‘first words’. For example, you could choose mobile, games, MP3, Internet, wireless, instant, text and social. Then dictate the list of ‘second words’ in a different order, broadband, messages, access, phone, player, networking, console and messaging. Give students a limited time to put together words from list A and words from list B, ie to collocate the words, for example, text messages, instant messaging. Students then listen and count how many collocations they have the same as in the recording.
This activity works along the same lines as the collocation activity and is ideal for listenings about a specific topic. Tell students what the recording is going to be about (the example below is about someone working in a café). Ask them to work in pairs and to write a list of ten phrases (ie language chunks with a minimum of two words) that they expect to hear, eliciting a couple of examples to check students understand the task. If you feel the students may need prompting, quickly sketch a word cloud on the board containing some word prompts (eg uniform, dishwasher, tables, etc). Play the recording and tell students to award themselves points when they hear their phrase: 3 points if it is exactly the same (eg wear a uniform, load the dishwasher, clean the tables) and 1 point if they’ve come up with a different (but correct) phrase, eg lay the tables. This activity encourages students to think of vocabulary in a wider sense than isolated words.
Taken from Voices 3 Student’s Book by Catherine McBeth
Select nine words from the first half of a listening script and another nine words from the second half of the script. Write them on the board in two columns. If necessary check that students know the pronunciation. Get students to draw a bingo grid with nine squares and to fill the grid with four words from one column and five from the other. Play the recording. Students listen carefully for their words, crossing them off as they hear them. When somebody shouts Bingo!, stop the recording. Tell the winner to read out their words to check that they are correct.
Two main common denominators underpin all of these activities. By introducing students beforehand to some of the key words and phrases around which the text is built, will maximise their chances of decoding and understanding the recording when they hear it. The activities are designed to be fun, which will hopefully raise motivation levels. Listenings don’t have to be dull or difficult!