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At the pre-listening stage some preparatory work for listening is done. The aim of this work is to assist with comprehension and motivate students to want to listen. Pre-listening activities may include:

  1. look at the pictures and the title and make guesses…
  2. look at the new vocabulary
  3. list ideas about…
  4. list possibilities…
  5. make a note of what you expect to hear
  6. answer the questions
  7. listen to the opening and predict what will happen next

The choice of pre-listening activities depends on the ability of the class, the material available, the time available, the nature and content of a text for listening.


At the while-listening stage students develop the skill of eliciting messages from spoken language. Activities are done during the time students listen to the text. They may include:

1. tick things, people, dates, etc on your list.

2. make a list of…

3. fill in the chart

4. take notes on…

5. find words which mean…

6. decide whether each statement is true or false

7. complete the information in the paragraph

8. match the picture to what is said

9. follow the route on your map

10. draw a picture

11. carry out actions


Post-listening activities are done after listening is completed. Some post-listening activities are extention of the work done at the pre-listening and while-listening stages. They can be much longer because at this stage students have time to think, to discuss, to write. Post-listening activities may include:

  1. open-ended questions
  2. true/false questions
  3. multiple choice questions
  4. fill in the gaps in the summary
  5. put the events in the correct order
  6. put the pictures in the correct order
  7. complete the chart
  8. complete the paragraph
  9. paraphrase
  10. summarize
  11. solve the problem
  12. discuss…
  13. role-play
  14. write a letter or a composition


  1. Methodology of working with a text for listening

When selecting a text for listening the teacher takes into account the following:

    • Will the students find the topic and the text interesting?
    • Does the text fit the students’ level?
    • Will the text lead to further work (speaking, writing)?
    • Will the text be useful for students?
    • What kind of text is it: a radio extract, a video, a song, an interview, a real story?
    • Is it a recording or a teacher’s voice?
    • Isn’t it too difficult for students and how to overcome the difficulties?
    • Is the structure of the text simple and straightforward, but not too dense- there is repetition, pausing, etc?


The text is usually listened to two times. The purpose of the first listening is to listen for the main ideas (it is “global” listening or “gist” listening). The purpose of the second listening is to listen for details (it is “listening for details”). Thus the knowledge of the text is built gradually.


Example of one way of conducting a lesson using a text:

The students are going to listen to a text about a famous person’s life.

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