Listening Strategies and Lesson Plans

Teaching listening skills can be challenging; however, with continued practice students become better listeners. There are two basic types of listening strategies: focused listening and listening for comprehension. In focused listening, students are given specific information to listen for. With listening for comprehension, students are asked to summarize the main idea of what they’ve heard. This is more general than focused listening and usually used with more advanced students. Students should understand that in both cases there is no need for them to try to understand every word of what they’re listening to; instead, they try to hear certain information. The activities listed are excellent to use for practice with listening strategies. In addition, there is basic listening practice for students, where they can listen to news clips from  National Public Radio (NPR) and Voice of America (VOA).  Stephen Colbert  Listening Videos (Advanced)

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Using Videos For Listening Practice

Students like to watch videos, and watching videos also gives them the opportunity to hear authentic English language.  The following  are listening activities based on different videos.

Eyes On the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years by Henry Hampton/PBS

Lesson Plan Awakenings:Emmet Till

(1954-1956) Episode 1: Segment 1 (approx. 30 minutes)

Level: High-intermediate to advanced.

Materials: video, handout of discussion questions.

Objectives: To provide students with focused listening practice, and to help them understand what the Civil Rights Movement entailed.

Procedure: Place students in groups.

Pre-listening task: Ask students do they know about the Civil War in the United States, do they understand what Civil Rights mean; was there similar was or conflicts in their countries.

While-listening task: ,Students are to watch and listen to the video, and note any new vocabulary words they might hear.

After students watch the video, review any new the vocabulary words they didn’t understand. Students are to answer the discussion questions; review the answers as a class.

Questions for Comprehension and Discussion

Directions:  Explain to students they are going to view a video, which will explain how the Civil Rights Movement began in this country during the early 50s.  There were several important events that occurred which led to the beginning of the movement.  This segment concerns Emmet Till, a young black man from Chicago who visited the south during that period, and the tragedy that occurred. As they  watch the video have students note any new vocabulary words that they may hear.

1. What was the prize?

2. Why were blacks (African-Americans) segregated from whites?

3. During this period, what jobs were available for blacks?

4. Virginia Durr, a white woman explains that she was taught to have certain beliefs about black people, and she took these beliefs for granted. What were they?

5. What does the acronym N.A.A.C.P. stand for?

6. According to James Hicks, a black man, how did World War II change the way in which black people thought about themselves in relation to white people?

7. Who was Mose Wright?

8. Who was Emmet Till? Why was he murdered? Who murdered him?

9. Why did Emmet’s case attract so much attention in the North?

10. What was the outcome of this trial?

Writing:
For homework, write an essay summarizing your feelings about the murder of Emmet Till.

Sources:
Eyes On the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years: Emmet Till

Read more about Emmet Till here.

Lesson Plan Awakenings:Rosa Parks

(1954-1956) Episode 1: Segment 2 (approx. 30 minutes)

Level: High-intermediate to advanced.

Materials: video, handout of discussion questions.

Objectives: To provide students with focused listening practice, and to teach them about Rosa Parks, and her important role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Procedure: Place students in groups.

Pre-listening task: Ask students do they know about the Civil War in the United States, do they understand what Civil Rights mean; was there similar was or conflicts in their countries.

While-listening task: ,Students are to watch and listen to the video, and note any new vocabulary words they might hear.

Post-listening tasks: After students watch the video, review any new the vocabulary words they didn’t understand. Students are to answer the discussion questions; review the answers as a class.

Questions for Comprehension and Discussion

Directions: You are going to view a video, which will explain how the Civil Rights Movement began in this country during the early 50s.  There were several important events that occurred which led to the beginning of the movement.  This segment of the video concerns Rosa Parks, a black woman living in the south during that period. As you watch the video note any new vocabulary words that you may hear. After the segment is shown, you are to answer the following discussion questions.

1. Why was Rosa Parks placed in jail?

2. What did the black people do in retaliation to the treatment of Rosa Parks?

3. Who was Martin Luther King Jr.?

4. What was his role in the Rosa Parks case?

5. How did the white people react to the boycott?

6. Why did the national press develop an interest in this case?

7. What demands did the black people make during the boycott?

8. What was the outcome of the boycott?

Writing:

For homework, write an essay summarizing your feelings about Rosa Parks. Include answers for  the following questions.

1. Would you have done what she did under similar circumstances?

2. Do you feel that she was justified in her actions? Discuss why or why not?

Sources: Rosa Parks (Montgomery Bus Boycott)

Lesson Plan The Amistad

Level: High-intermediate to advanced.

Materials: video, handout of discussion questions.

Objectives: To have students practice focused listening skills, improve overall listening comprehension, and learn about slavery, and the capture in Africa of the Mende free men and their subsequent travels on board the slave ships Tecora and Amistad.

Procedure: Place students in groups.

Pre-listening tasks: Find out what students already know about slavery, and was slavery practiced in their countries.

While-listening tasks: Students are to watch and listen to the video, and note any new vocabulary words they might hear.

Post-listening tasks: After students watch the video, review any new vocabulary words they didn’t understand. Students are to answer the discussion questions, then review the answers as a class.

Questions for Comprehension and Discussion

Directions: As you watch the movie the Amistad, listen for the answers to the following questions. After the movie, we will discuss your responses as a class.

1. When does the story of the Amistad slave revolt begin?

2. How many slaves on the In what year Tecora died during the trip across the Atlantic from Africa to Cuba?

3. In Cuba, two Spanish plantation owners bought 53 slaves and transferred them to another ship, the Amistad. Were the slaves mostly men or women?

4. Why, do you think, did the African known as “Cinque” decided that the slaves must find a way to take over the Amistad?

5. How did Cinque manage to escape the chains that bound him to another of the slaves?

6. How could the slaves tell that Ruiz and Montes were sailing the boat to the east?

7. . Why did the ship follow a zig-zag course rather that a straight line to Africa?

8. Where did the U.S. Navy ship Washington spot the Amistad?

9. Why did the sailors on the Washington choose to take the slaves of the Amistad to Connecticut rather than to New York?

10. Do you think the decision to put the Africans on trial was a fair one? Why or why not?

Sources: The Amistad

Additional  Listening Activities and Lesson Plans

You’ll find many Listening activities  in the lesson plans for ESL Voices here.