At an ELT seminar organised by the British Council in Krakow on January 21st, I had the pleasure of attending a very interesting training on the topic of “jazzing up” the students’ listening skills, delivered by Barbara Szybowska, which included a variety of graded listening activities based on 6 different songs. My favourite activity was a multiple choice exercise based on Sting’s song, Englishman in New York. This also led me to contemplate some interesting cultural parallels I have been exploring on another blog of mine.
During one of the many audience interaction moments in the seminar, I mentioned a listening activity that I was planning to do with one of my student groups the following week. This post includes a description of this listening activity that may be used with groups of any level. It was a real success with my group, so I warmly recommend it to any teacher interested.
Here is how it works. Ask each student in your group to choose a favourite song, look for the lyrics to it, and be prepared to read them fluently at the next class. It is best to have some extra lyrics at hand for the students who may have been absent.
Each student will read his or her chosen lyrics in front of their colleagues, who would assess the reading at the end, using the 5 criteria in the activity sheet below and a scale from 1 (for a very poor reading) to 5 (for an excellent reading). The teacher and the students’ peers are able to award marks to assess the reading, which allows for both the students’ speaking and listening skills to be put to the test.
With more advanced groups, students should be able to explain the various marks they award to each other.
With lower-level groups students may be given a second shot at reading and being assessed. In the case of my group, the second reading, after a detailed discussion and assessment of the first, increased their score by a significant 10 to 30 %.
|Student 2||Student 3||Teacher|
|1. General impression: How well did you understand the text presented to you?|
|2. How clearly were the sounds articulated? (Think about pauses, the speed of the speech, word stress and rhythm.)|
|3. How was the speaker’s intonation?
|Score out of 5:
😦 1 2 3 4 5 🙂