listening

a smiling woman giving a thumbs up

Purpose:  to practice responding to verbal questions, and explaining rationale for responses

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  Set of yes/no questions, true/false questions, or agree/disagree statements

Procedure:

woman holding a finger to her chin and looking thoughtful

Purpose:  to help learners improve their listening and recollection skills, as well as practice responding to questions.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  mini-whiteboards, markers, erasers

Procedure:

  1. Generate a list of 2-5 questions that tie into the current group theme.

Example 1:

(Low beginning level group, theme of family)

graphic of elllo website

If you teach an ESL class, you might hear learners tell you that they struggle to understand people that they interact with out in the community. English language learners benefit from listening to fluent English speakers who have different accents, speaking speeds, and speaking styles. They need to be able to understand everyone, not just their teacher!

row of five pastel colored question marks

Purpose:  This structured speaking activity gives learners the chance to practice asking and answering questions. The repetition that the activity provides builds comfort with the language, as well as confidence and fluency.  

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  1-6 prepared questions

Procedure:

hands holding up a true and a false card

Purpose:  This silent activity gives learners a chance to develop their listening skills. It is helpful for learners who are not comfortable sharing answers aloud in class develop confidence in their listening abilities.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  True/False cards for the class

Procedure:

a blue and red image of a brain within a light bulb

Purpose:  Total Physical Response (TPR) is a method of teaching that connects language with physical movement. Movement in language learning is an excellent way to boost memory. This listening activity helps to build learners’ understanding of language, and allows them to demonstrate understanding in a physical and low-pressure manner. Movement in the classroom also contributes to lowering learner stress levels.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  A list of 4-8 movement-based commands

a brain in a clear lightbulb

Purpose:  Help learners improve their listening and recollection skills, as well as practice responding to questions.

Preparation Time:  2 minutes

Materials Needed:  mini-whiteboards, markers, erasers

Procedure:

  1. Generate a list of 2-5 questions that tie into the current class theme.

Example 1:

(Low beginning level class, theme of family)

red and white target with an arrow in the middle

Purpose: This small group activity gives learners opportunities to practice formulating questions and answering a wide variety of questions.

Preparation Time: None

Materials Needed: None

Woman listening with her hand up to her ear

Purpose: When it comes to developing strong communication skills, strengthening listening skills is critical. This activity helps learners practice listening to both questions and answers, as well as improve their auditory memories.

Preparation Time: None

Materials Needed: Several small talk questions

ESL teacher watching adult learner review vocabulary

Encouraging very beginning level learners to speak English and participate in classes can be a challenge, but setting speaking routines and planning activities that allow for lots of interaction can give even the lowest level learners opportunities to build their speaking skills. The new video Adult ESL Literacy Level Instruction: Building Speaking Skills features a pre-beginning level adult ESL class moving through a high-energy level speaking lesson.

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