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Using the News in class by Katie Riley


Authentic Activities to practise listening to the news;

Task 1
Aim: Evaluating listening and scanning without visual support.
Procedure: Sts are asked to listen to one specific topic and to pick out specific details. Similarly, an entire news broadcast could be used and students asked about only one of the items: "Who won the elections?" ,"Where was the queen today?" and so on.(1)
NB This replicates a common real life situation where we are listening for what we want to know and relate to the rest of what we want to hear as redundant.

Task 2
Level: Advanced
Aim: to predict content and listen for the main idea.
Pre listening: Sts are given 8 newspaper headlines. They discuss what they think the story is about.
While Listening: Students listen to the eight excerpts from newspaper bulletins. They use their prediction of the content of the stories to match the excerpts and the headlines.
In this activity a real life situation is represented as students listen out for the main event sin order to get a rough idea what is happening.(2)

These ideas are designed for fairly advanced level students. However, there are lots of things we can do with students of other levels, at least from intermediate upwards. Tomalin(1989) provides some good suggestions.

These include things like;
1. The structure of the news. Students say when the news in detail starts and when the summary of the main points begin.
2. The news headlines. Students tick off countries, names etc that appear in the news headlines. The aim of doing this is that by marking down the main country that the report refers to, students will also pick up what the story is about.
3. Topic Charts. Students have topic charts and listen to decide where a story fits.
4. Tell me the story. Students listen out for the key words in a story and retell to their friends.

(1) Idea taken from Ur (1986)
(2)This idea was taken from Revell, J and Breary, B (1984) This book contains lots of ideas for authentic listening activities.

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