Teaching Children English Through Listening

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Listening Exercises

1. Setting the context
Give an idea about who is speaking, where and why. In normal life we normally have some idea of the context of something we are listening to.

2. Generating interest
Motivate, raise students’ interest or remind them why they do the listening exercise . Personalisation activities are very important here. Discussion about the topic. Make them more willing to listen.

3. Activating current knowledge - what do you know about…?

4. Acquiring knowledge
Students may have limited general knowledge about a topic. Providing knowledge input will build their confidence for dealing with a listening. This could be done by giving a related text to read, or, a little more fun, a quiz.

5. Activating vocabulary / language
Children can brainstorm language before hand, and then perform the scene. By having the time to think about the language needs of a situation, they will be excellently prepared to cope with the listening.

6. Predicting content
Once we know the context for something, we are able to predict possible content. Try giving students a choice of things that they may or may not expect to hear, and ask them to choose those they think will be mentioned.

7. Pre-learning vocabulary
When we listen in our first language we can usually concentrate on the overall meaning because we know the meaning of the vocabulary. For students, large numbers of unknown words will often hinder listening, and certainly lower confidence. Select some vocabulary for the students to study before listening, perhaps matching words to definitions, followed by a simple practice activity such as filling the gaps in sentences.

8. Checking / understanding the listening tasks
By giving your students plenty of time to read and understand the main listening comprehension tasks, you allow them to get some idea of the content of the listening. They may even try to predict answers before listening.

While-listening exercises

Gap filling; a traditional exercise in which students reinsert words that have been taken out of a text. Landmine elephant gets new foot

Phrase filling; take phrases out of the article. Students have to put the phrases back into the text.

Paired gap filling; a regular gap fill except students choose from pairs of words to insert into the text. The pairs can be false friends, homophones, homographs, words to test general knowledge, etc. or be totally unrelated.

True/False; students check the answers to the True/False activity. Talk about the answers and any disagreements there might be. Students talk about the choices in the true/false activity and whether it was a useful activity.

Synonyms check; students check the answers to the synonym matching activity. Talk about the answers and any disagreements there might be. Students talk about the activity and whether it was a useful activity. They also talk about the synonyms and their usefulness.

Antonym matching; write ten antonyms of words in the article. Students have to find the words in the article that match the antonyms.

Phrase match check: Students have to check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

Questions: Students have to make notes for questions they would like to ask their partners or the class about the article. Ask students to circle the words as they read/listen.

Vocabulary: Students circle words that they do not know the meaning of. They will find out more about the words after the exercise by showing the words to their partners and trying to guess the meanings in context or by breaking the word down into prefixes, suffixes and roots.

Interesting words: Students circle words they think are interesting that they would like to talk about after the reading / listening.

Pronunciation: Students circle the words they would like to know the pronunciation of.

Quiz: Students circle three things they would like to write a quiz question on after the reading. After they have written the...
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