English is tricky to learn, even more so for those that take it up as their second language. Many feel discouraged after learning, writing and speaking it for months, but still unable to comprehend and distinguish between accents. Along with writing, reading and speaking skills, listening skills are equally important.

In order to switch things up, TESOL’s ESL teachers have thrown away the old, boring listening techniques and adopted newer, more fun exercises to help understand the language better. The following activities will pump up the energy and create healthy competition in the classroom.

Students studying library

#1 Listen to the News Radio

Through radio podcasts and internet radio, students can access world radio channels. These radio channels include a variety of topics from business, economics, fashion, art, travel. Students can select any topic of their interest, listening to a new language is made so much more interesting.

#2 Minimal Pairs Card Hold-up

This quick-fire will help encourage proper pronunciation and reinforce phonics. Prepare sets of word cards which include items that are visible in the classroom. It could be anything from chalks to feet. Divide the students into teams and give each team a set of cards. After the students have finished spreading the words in the table, call out any word card. For instance, if the word is ‘book’, the team that finds the word card first, has to hold it up.

#3 Movie Clip Quiz

Movies are the best source of passive entertainment and make great teaching tools. Incorporating videos clips into your teaching lesson will gather your students attention. Generic videos like famous movies, music videos, TV shows are surely going to make class more fun. Give a set of questions to the students and let the video roll. Students need to find answers to the given questions.

#4 Song Gap-fill

Students can learn to pop songs in the background! Divide the students in pairs with a sheet of the song with missing words. The pair has to fill in the blanks with the missing words while the song is playing. You can provide them with hints by highlighting the missing words on top of the page, in a box.

#5 Listen and Throw

Divide the students in groups and make them sit in a circle. Name each team a colour and give them the same coloured paper. Three baskets, with the answers written on them, are placed in the centre. After the CD stops playing, ask questions related to the CDs audio dialogue. Students have to scrunch their paper into a ball and throw it into the answer basket. In the end, the winners will be determined by the amount of coloured balls in the correct baskets.

#6 Dictation

Read through a chapter of a famous storybook. Call out a list of words and let each student write it on their answer sheet. At the end of the class, you will have an understanding of each students listening abilities.

#7 Music ESL Listening Activities

Divide the class into teams, giving them cards of a table on it with rows of simple questions and numerical columns. The questions that are listed in the rows should relate to every song that you are about to play. For example, ‘what is this song about?’ students need to fill up the table after the song stops.

For those who can’t make it into a classroom, various online ESL courses are available, providing you with an online TESOL certification at the end of the course. Learning a new language has never been more fun.