Friday, March 21, 2014

Elementary speaking and listening activity

This is another activity designed to integrate speaking with listening. Although most listening comprehension activities used in the language classroom are based on recordings, most of the listening we do in real life is in face-to-face interaction which combines listening with speaking.
This activity was used in a fifty-minute lesson taught by a trainee teacher in her first meeting with an elementary level class of eight children aged nine to ten. 

In comparison with the intermediate level lesson, this one was much simpler. Instead of an extensive listening passage, students were presented with a series of PowerPoint slides, each showing one short statement about the teacher accompanied by a picture.

The statements introduced the new teacher using simple vocabulary which students had already met in previous lessons.

At this stage of the lesson, which provided the model for the main activity, students were able to read the statements as well as listening to them. 

The students’ task was to guess which of the statements were true and which were false. This ensured that the children were engaged in understanding and responding to the statements.

In order to help them guess, some of the statements were obviously false. An alternative would be to present all the true facts first, then ask students to remember rather than just guessing.

The ten statements were also written on large cards which remained on display for students to use as a model when creating their own sentences.

As the teacher showed each slide, two teams of students took it in turns to guess whether the sentence was true or false, and won a point for each correct guess.

Presenting the activity as a competition enhances students’ interest and motivation, while working in teams of four also reduces the pressure on individuals who lack confidence.

After the presentation by the teacher, students were told to write similar statements about themselves, some of which should be false. They were given time to prepare these so each person in turn would be able to speak confidently and without hesitation.

As the learners had the model sentences to refer to, they were easily able to create similar sentences about themselves. The number of sentences can be varied according to the time available, the number of students in the class, and their level of ability.

In this class, the students already knew each other quite well, but they were still able to come up with some statements that their classmates were unsure about.

This activity would work particularly well at the beginning of the year with a new class in which the learners haven’t yet got to know each other. It’s much more interesting to talk about themselves and each other than some fictional characters in their coursebooks.

 Peter Beech -

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