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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

Lesson plan - 1 - preliminary information

Time: 60 mins

Level 4 : Headway Upper intermediate

Timetable Fit and General Rationale:
I 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.

The 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

In 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.

I 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 and personalisation.

The 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.

My 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.

Aims of the Lesson

Main Alms:

1.To 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 another person.

Subsidiary Aims:

1. To provide an opportunity for students to develop their spoken fluency in English.

Assumed Knowledge:
l 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.

lam 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:
I can anticipate problems with both my plan and the students ability to cope with the listening.

The 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.

My 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 tape.

- 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.

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