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I've been busier on the site recently now I've got the typescript finished for my next book with Routledge called Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher. I've been looking for a fresh idea for the site and come up with the concept "Instant 30 minute listening". If you think listening is the neglected skill, this resource may help.

The idea with these is to give teachers a script to read aloud, record or have recorded by a native speaker. This is accompanied by a couple of exercises, usually true/false or true/false/not mentioned and gap-fill. Teachers can decide how many times they want to read the text and at what pace, depending on their class. the exercises are all in target language to reinforce the language they hear and to improve reading skills.

All of these tasks are pretty much zero preparation as far as the teacher is concerned and should take about 30 minutes to do. You can correct them in class with the answers provided. Just give students the A4 worksheet and off you go!

I have focused mainly on GCSE Higher (intermediate) and done the following topics so far:

  • Sport (horse-riding)
  • Environment
  • Family
  • Volunteering
  • Healthy living
  • Cinema
  • Television

For AS/A-level (advanced) I have done:

  • Volunteering
  • Mobile phones

All topics tie in with common GCSE and A-level topics.

I shall be adding more of these in due course.

It's true that read-aloud texts based on written sources lack authenticity, but so do nearly all audio sources used in course books. On the plus side, the teacher can tailor the delivery of the text to their own class, even making the activity interactive if they want. In addition, manufactured texts of this type cover the key vocabulary and structures you want pupils to hear, read and practise.

If you want more authentic sources, then just use the many video listening exercises on the site.

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