Using Textbook Listening Activities

The greatest challenges with textbook tape programs are integrating the listening experiences into classroom instruction and keeping up student interest and motivation. These challenges arise from the fact that most textbook listening programs emphasize product (right or wrong answer) over process (how to get meaning from the selection) and from the fact that the listening activities are usually carried out as an add-on, away from the classroom.

You can use the guidelines for developing listening activities given here as starting points for evaluating and adapting textbook listening programs. At the beginning of the teaching term, orient students to the tape program by completing the exercises in class and discussing the different strategies they use to answer the questions. It is a good idea to periodically complete some of the lab exercises in class to maintain the link to the regular instructional program and to check on the effectiveness of the exercises themselves.

Integrating Listening Strategies With Textbook Audio and Video

Students can use this outline for both in-class and out-of-class listening/viewing activities. Model and practice the use of the outline at least once in class before you ask students to use it independently.

  1. Plan for listening/viewing
  • Review the vocabulary list, if you have one
  • Review the worksheet, if you have one
  • Review any information you have about the content of the tape/video
  1. Preview the tape/video
  • (tape) Use fast forward to play segments of the tape; (video) view the video without sound
  • Identify the kind of program (news, documentary, interview, drama)
  • Make a list of predictions about the content
  • Decide how to divide the tape/video into sections for intensive listening/viewing
  1. Listen/view intensively section by section. For each section:
  • Jot down key words you understand
  • Answer the worksheet questions pertaining to the section
  • If you don’t have a worksheet, write a short summary of the section
  1. Monitor your comprehension
  • Does it fit with the predictions you made?
  • Does your summary for each section make sense in relation to the other sections?
  1. Evaluate your listening comprehension progress


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