Learn to listen

Katherine Bilsborough suggests some easy-to-manage tasks designed to increase our students’ motivation to listen.

Author: Katherine Bilsborough

RTEmagicC_ISS_1834_00841_03.jpgI often start teacher training sessions by asking teachers how their students react when they see them reach for the CD player. Almost without exception, the reactions were audible groans, protests and even laughter from the most cynical students. But when I asked teachers how their students generally did in listening tasks, their responses were surprising. Students usually do far better at listening than they expect to do. It seems that our students have good listening skills. What they are lacking is confidence and self-esteem.

Over the years I have discovered that by doing a simple fun activity related to the listening in the book – as a way of leading into the real listening task – pressure is taken off the students and they usually perform much better. I tell them First we are going to have a little listening game and then we’ll do the task. By the time they get to do the task they have already heard the recording once, are familiar with the context and feel less threatened.

The type of activity will depend on the nature of the script. Certain types of listening lend themselves to different activities. Here are a few that go down well with my students.

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