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Livening up listening

I've been watching this excellent presentation to English language teachers in Palestine from 2014 by Nick Bilborough. It would be worth showing at a professional development meeting. If you don't have the time to watch it, here are some of the key points he makes.

His main thesis is that listening need not be a passive test based on audio material, it can be two-way, interactive and really enjoyable. Here are two examples for intermediate to advanced level.

1.  "Physicalise" a story

You tell a story while students stand and act out what is happening, e.g:

“I was walking through a forest, I saw a box on the ground, I picked it up, I slowly opened the lid, (shriek) a bird flew out, and hit me in the face, I looked inside, wow!, it was full of treasure, I filled my pockets as fast as I could, oh no, someone was coming, I turned around and ran..."
You first narrate the story slowly, the a second time much faster. Nick makes the points that we help store memories thr…
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A super listening game: Mr and Mrs

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Using lectures to improve listening skills and knowledge

In this post I'm going to make the case for making occasional use of the lecture format for delivering listening lessons with a focus on cultural knowledge. I'll provide an example at the end.

At A-level there is now a need to make sure that students have available a stock of cultural knowledge they can bring to bear in their speaking tests. Cultural knowledge is assessed within Assessment Objective AO3 and carries a significant number of marks. In addition, we want to improve students' listening skills as much as possible, especially given that students often say that listening is the aspect of learning they fear most. The lecture format allows you to efficiently deal with both of these priorities.

I strongly suspect that teachers rarely make use of the set-piece lecture to provide listening practice and cultural knowledge. Nearly all classroom listening takes place either as part of two-way conversation with the teacher or a partner or "passively" while listeni…