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A nifty “listening plus” lesson plan.

This is written in conjunction with Gianfranco Conti who provided the main idea from listening expert Larry Vandergrift (no longer with us). The main aim is to develop listening skills, but the lesson sequence suggested below also involves jigsaw reading and oral communicative activities.

These are Vandergrift's (2003) instructions for the initial listening-focused activity:

1. The listening scripts should be taken from the course book of the learners or related to its themes. Then it is rewritten into sequential statements which are jumbled to be ordered afterwards by the students.

2. Students work individually and predict the correct order of the statements and write the correct order in the Before Listening: My Choice column (see below).

3. Students work in pairs and discuss any difference in their answers. Then they should agree on a final order and write it down in the Before Listening: Our Choice column.

4. Students listen for the first time and check their prediction of  the statement sequence. According to what they hear, in pairs, they should write the correct order of the events in the After Listening column. At this point, they should discuss what they understand and the difficult listening parts they need to pay more attention to when they listen for the second time.

5. When listening for the second time, learners confirm their answers. This is followed by a class discussion in order to verify the correct sequence and to share the strategies  students use for predicting and understanding the listening script.

6. The aim of the listening for the third time is to finalize their answers and clarify the ambiguous points based on the class discussion in the previous step.

7. Eventually, learners individually complete the Self-Reflection column. They write a reflection on their performance specifically what they achieve in the current task and what they are planning to improve in similar listening tasks in the following class. Here is Gianfranco’s table for students:



Next part

Now that that the students are familiar with the text you can then use that same text as a basis for some communicative practice. Activities you could consider include:


- Reading aloud, e.g. paired reading aloud.
- Traditional question-answer with or without hands up.
- Correcting false statements with or without hands up.
- Aural gap-fill (where the text is hidden, you read aloud from the beginning, leaving gaps for students to fill orally. These can be individual words or longer chunks.
- Antonym and synonym work.
- Dictation.
- Telling the story from another viewpoint (if the text lends itself to this).

In sum, we have a multi-skill lesson sequence with a particular focus on detailed listening and during which a huge amount of language is recycled in various ways, providing variety, challenge and interest.

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