Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

An improvised monologue

I spent Saturday reading all about listening in preparation for my second LSA (Language Skills Assignment). While working through Penny Ur’s Teaching Listening Comprehension, I came across a few ideas which I’d like to try out. From both that and Listening (Anderson/Lynch), I’ve realised how little ‘natural’ English our learners generally hear. They often hear scripted things from the CD/mp3/films, or ‘teacher’ English from us, but not a lot of false starts, stuttering, repetition, and all of the other features of a normal English conversation. This was my variation on a grid activity suggested by Ur which I did with pre-intermediate students.

  • I introduced a few adventure sports using pictures.
  • Students drew a grid in their books (sorry for it’s a bit of a mess!):
    like                             |                  would like
    ________________________|____________________________

    ________________________|____________________________
    x
  • I had a similar grid on my paper, where I had listed a few of the adventure sports:
    like              /                  would like
    __________________/____________________________
    √                       skydiving    /climbing
    __________________/waterskiing_________________
    x                        skiing         /snowboarding
    .                   rollerskating   /
  • I monologued about the sports above, telling the students what I like/don’t like doing and what I would (not) like to try. I made it into a kind of story, mixing up the sports: “When I lived in the Czech Republic, I went skiing, and I really didn’t like it because…” The first time they listened, all the students had to do was count how many sports were in each box.
  • After students had compared in pairs (in true CELTA fashion!), I then monologued again, in a different order, but with roughly similar elements to my story. This time, students had to write down which sports were in each box. We then checked it on the board.
  • Finally, students created their own tables, and did the same two-step process – listening and counting, then listening and writing.
The only place I was happy for my skis to be

The only place I was happy for my skis to be

Did it work?

Mostly, yes. One of the students even said it was much more useful doing listening like this. I ended up doing the monologue four times, as the first time students thought they were counting sports for themselves – they didn’t realise it was about me! Once they got the hang of it though, they seemed to be motivated, and were concentrating hard to try and get the right answers. They also enjoyed the chance to do it themselves afterwards.

It also served as a useful basis for looking at ‘like + ing’ and ‘would like to + infinitive’ which was the main focus of the lesson.

Doing it again

I’d pull out a few more phrases from my own monologue to help students build their own stories. I also needed to make it clearer that it was a listening exercise when I started! Apart from that, I’d follow a very similar procedure again.

(This is one of a series of shared mini reflections on some of the activities I’m trying out during my Delta. The first was here, the second here.)

Advertisements

Comments on: "An improvised monologue" (3)

  1. Thanks for the sharing this activity and the book titles. I’ve also been thinking about learner listening lately, especially comparing “classroom language” to general extemporaneous speech. I like the grid because its simple enough to call up on the fly if a listening need comes up during a lesson. For example, we recently ran into can vs. can’t. Learners couldn’t hear the difference (can is stressed less and “goes small”). We could have used the grid!

    Like

  2. […] Sandy Millin shares a nice listening activity using the teacher to generate short monologues. […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: