A web site for the developing language teacher

CurrentTeaching Tip


Developing listening

Developing Hosting

Online Development Courses
for Teachers of English -
contact us for more

& check out the courses at

27th October 2014



You've probably heard lots about Moodle, the framework for providing online courses. Have you thought about having your own? At Developing (a sister site of Developing we provide you with your own Moodle for only $12/month. Your Moodle installation comes with 2GB of space & 20gb/month of bandwidth.

We set it all up for you & you provide the courses. You don't need to provide the actual course, this can simply be an online presence, a way of keeping in touch with your students, a meeting place with individuals or whole classes, an extension of your lessons.

Moodle 2.0

We like it so much that we run our own online development courses at Developing with Moodle.
For more information:

Reliable & affordable Web Hosting for the English Language Teaching Community!

If you are thinking of tackling the Cambridge DELTA modules, we are running online Module 1 & Module 3 preparation courses at Developing
These are three month courses lead up to the exam/entry dates. For more information on both courses:

Chester School
Cambridge ESOL CELTA
in Madrid, Spain


Free excellent British Council books & resource packs:


'Overshare' is Chambers Dictionary's word of the year 2014
Chambers Dictionary announces its word of the year: 'overshare' tops a shortlist featuring 'photobomb', 'selfie' and 'bashtag'.

Described as "beautifully British", the "subtle yet devastating" put-down "overshare" was today named word of the year by the Chambers Dictionary. Collins, however, has plumped for "photobomb" as its choice, citing the word's 100% increase in usage over the past year.

"Photobomb", defined by Collins as "to intrude into the background of a photograph without the subject's knowledge", also made the final shortlist for Chambers, but was edged out by "overshare". Used to condemn everything from Kim Kardashian's closeups of her anatomy to public displays of affection on Facebook, "overshare" is defined by Chambers as "to be unacceptably forthcoming with information about one's personal life". Whether it is updates on a toddler's toilet training or selfies on Snapchat that leave little to the imagination, "we're revealing more now than we ever have done before", according to the dictionary.


It's quite common for teachers when we come across a listening section working with a coursebook to simply run through the procedure & move on to the next thing In the book, feeling that we are catering to the skill satisfactorily. The procedure is usually; sinking into the theme, extensive task, students comparing before feedback, a more intensive task followed again by students comparing & then feedback & lastly there is usually a speaking task related to the topic of the audio. This is a solid enough procedure, a top-down one, & the successful completion of the tasks can boost students' motivation but are we really doing enough to develop our students' listening skills? Some might call it 'jumping through hoops'.

For any of the four skills there are two basic ways of developing them. The first is to do the skill i.e. the more listening you do, the better you become at it. The second is through an awareness & practice of the sub-skills. So we have to guide our studetns to the skills & strategies & help them find out where they are having problems & then together work on those areas. Here are a couple of ideas:

- use the transcript of the audio. The students go through the normal procedure & then listen & read the script to see where they had problems. The more they do this, the more they are able to identify the problems; problems of discourse, vocabulary, grammar etc.. See the past Tip 'Script It' for ideas:

- students could control the audio & stop it when they come across a problem, re-listen & discuss what they hear.

- discuss what is involved in listening with the students, the sub-skills & effective strategies to cope.

- use authentic audios as much as possible & videos when you can as they are much more natural than using audio with no visual clues.

- when going through the answers go to the sections that were difficult for them, help them to understand why it was difficult, ask for justifications of answers.

- with listening more often than not they cannot work out the word boundaries & it all sounds like one string of speech. They need to be made aware of 'sounds in combination' problems. Spend time on phonology awareness in class as it's primarily all about reception & listening. See the Phonology section on the site for lots of ideas:

- among several examples, Jack Richards in 'The Context of Language Teaching' (CUP) in the article 'Listening comprehension' provides a taxonomy of sub-skills & strategies which are useful to refer to, to help identify difficult areas & to help you plan which you are going to look at.

Among many articles, plans & Tips on the site here are a few for you to folllow up:

Grasping the nettle: The importance of perception work in listening comprehension by Richard Cauldwell

The two-sides rule in teaching listening and pronunciation by Richard Cauldwell

Teaching Listening to Advanced Learners: Problems and Solutions by Scott Shelton

The role of the teacher and the learner in the development of strategies and sub-skills to facilitate and enhance listening comprehension by Nicola Holmes

A couple of very good listening books:

Listening (Resource Books for Teachers) by Goodith White (OUP)


Listening in the Language Classroom (Cambridge Language Teaching Library) by John Field (CUP)


Teaching Listening Comprehension (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers) by Penny Ur (CUP)


How to Teach Listening Paperback by Mr JJ Wilson (Pearson Longman)


Online teacher development courses on Developing - individualised one-to-one course for ELT/ESOL teachers at any level of teaching experience. If you are interested in following one then do get in touch for more information.

Happy teaching!


Online Support Hosting

The Weekly Teaching Tip is written by Alistair Dickinson at Developing
This newsletter is a free service of Developing and is copyright 2001-2014 Developing All rights reserved.

To subscribe to the Newsletters

To the Past Teaching Tips














CurrentTeaching Tip










CurrentTeaching Tip

















CurrentTeaching Tip

Back to the top

Tips & Newsletter Sign up —  Current Tip —  Past Tips 
Train with us Online Development Courses    Lesson Plan Index
 Phonology —  English-To-Go Lesson   Articles Books
 Links —  Contact — Advertising — Web Hosting — Front page

Copyright 2000-2014© Developing