role of the teacher and the learner in the development of
strategies and sub-skills to facilitate and enhance listening
comprehension by Nicola Holmes
plan - 1 - preliminary information
4 : Headway Upper intermediate
Fit and General Rationale:
have been teaching this class for about a month, although
several of them have studied together before at Chester and
the majority of them work together at the Spanish Mint The
class comes twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2.35
to 355 pm. Most of them come straight from work and they do
not always all arrive on time.
course book for this year is Headway Upper intermediate, so
this forms the backbone of the basic syllabus. 5y the end
of term examination, we will need to have covered units 1
to 4. We are just reaching the end of unit 2. The first month
has been very much a month of getting to know each other,
diagnosis and discovery, especially when we were working on
unit one, which reviews the whole tense system in English
and provides activities for checking where students are at
with their understanding and use of English. Consequently,
we started the course with a lot of general activities, which
elicited fluency activities and grammar discussion but had
no clear focus and provided no clear input
the last couple of weeks, we have been focusing heavily on
grammar, with a complete review of the Present Perfect Simple
and Continuous and, in the last lesson, students filled In
and discussed a form reviewing their feelings about the course
so far, their individual wants, needs and difficulties and
their hopes for the months to come. Many of the students (with
the exception of one) expressed a need to improve their listening
skills, so I have tried to make this the focus of this lesson,
bearing in mind that they will come across difficult and long
listenings throughout the course book so they will need to
develop strategies for dealing with these as soon as possible.
have also tried to incorporate some speaking practice in the
lesson, along with some vocabulary input, as I feel that this
has been lacking in the last few lessons. Over the next few
weeks, the students will be reviewing the past tenses, and
I hope that the subject of biographies and life experiences
will also provide a natural lead into this, as well as being
a subject area which can lend itself quite well to extension
observed lesson constitutes the last sixty minutes of an eighty-minute
class. In the first twenty minutes, prior to the observed
lesson, I will be warming students up to the subject of memories,
with a description and discussion of childhood photos (cf
Headway Upper intermediate page 23) and of their own childhood
memories, and a review of vocabulary to describe different
age groups and times of life, namely childhood, adolescence,
young adulthood, middle age and old age (adapted from Language
In Use Intermediate Unit 20). The initial stages of the observed
lesson provide further opportunities to practise this vocabulary
in the general warm-up and pre-listening prediction activities.
main aim in this class is to begin to raise the students'
awareness of strategies they can use to help them to cope
with difficult listening tasks in English, with a particular
emphasis on prediction. I have tried to include a variety
of prediction activities, using pictures. sentences where
students have to identify the appropriate information, and
a vocabulary flip. I also hope that the ensuing discussion
in the final stages of the lesson will help students to begin
to think about strategies they can adopt to help themselves
in future listening tasks. I would also like to use this lesson
for my own diagnostic purposes, to gather more information
about the students' feelings about listening and the strategies
they already use.
of the Lesson
develop, discuss and practise listening skills in English,
focusing mainly on prediction activities and a general awareness-raising
of strategies for coping with difficult listenings.
2. To review and practise a set of sixteen vets appropriate
to the discussion of different stages of life, enabling students
to talk more fluently about their own lives or the life of
To provide an opportunity for students to develop their spoken
fluency in English.
am assuming that most of the vocabulary, both in the twenty
minutes prior to the observed lesson and in stage 1 of the
observed lesson itself, will be relatively familiar to the
students, the activities here serving to activate the students'
passive vocabulary. rather than teaching them completely new
vocabulary. lam hoping that this will also assist the students
in the other prediction, listening and discussion activities.
also assuming that the students will have already developed
some basic strategies for coping with listening in English.
I do not expect them to be familiar with a lot of the more
conventional vocabulary that will come up in the listening
and I do not feel it is useful to devote time to pre-teaching
words that they will not need to use actively, hence my focus
on strategies for guessing and predicting, although I have
felt it necessary to include the vocabulary flip to help with
the more complex. second part of the listening.
Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
can anticipate problems with both my plan and the students
ability to cope with the listening.
listening could be too long and possibly not interesting enough
for the students. I have tried to overcome both of these problems
by breaking the lesson up into varied activities and approaches
and personalising as much as possible. The listening in the
course book actually consists of three parts but because of
time constraints and the limits of students' concentration
span and interest levels, I have also chosen to focus on the
first two parts only here.
main problem with my plan is with my timings, which I realise
are vague and over-ambitious. lam also worried that the strong
skills focus of the lessons may lead to the students being
concerned at not having had any input of new language.
Headway Upper Intermediate pages 24 and 25 and the accompanying
Handout of verbs for different life events.
Vocab flip for the second part of the listening.
Questions to dictate on listening strategies.
Handout of listening strategies to discuss.
page 2 of 3
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