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Five zero preparation listening activities

With intermediate classes talk to them for about three minutes about what you did over the previous weekend. Ask students to make notes in English. Then, get them to feed back to you in English or preferably the TL How much did they understand? You could adjust tne task by talking to them, then doing an instant true-false task: Did I...?

Instant true-false. With beginners simply make a series of, say, twenty statements in TL associated with the topic you have been working on. Tell students only half of them will be true. Who can identify them all? You could use really simple, potentially amusing statements: "Paul is a girl. The computer is on the ceiling. My name is Barbie."

'Say the next word or sound'. For near beginners or low intermediates, simply read aloud a text you have been working on. When you pause, either at the end of a word, or in the middle of one, the students have to call out or whisper the next word or sound.

'Describe a picture'. With intermediate or advanced students you simply think of a picture in your mind's eye, describe it slowly and meticulously to a class who have to draw the picture. The best picture could win.

'Guess the next word'. For all levels. You make up an account or description, but pause at certain points and students have to guess which word you were going to say next. They could write this on a mini whiteboard. They hold up their board and you provide instant feedback. They could calculate a score as they go along.

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