Listen Up: Using Online Resources to Amplify Listening Skills

Listen Up: Using Online Resources to Amplify Listening Skills

There are many different websites to help you bring adventurous and unique listening exercises into your classroom.

You can find just about anything you might need for every level language learner, and students in today's classroom are looking to be engaged in many different ways. If you have an internet connection, speakers and a projector there is a whole world of online listening resources awaiting you!

Try These Great Online Resources to Amplify Listening Skills

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    Randall's Online Listening Quizzes

    Utilizing online listening quizzes is one of the best ways to supplement book exercises and provide students with additional challenges. One of the best, most organized websites to find a surplus of listening quizzes is Randall's ESL Cyber Lab.

    Randall's site is well-organized, user-friendly, and applicable for every level. In addition each listening quiz is put together with pre and post listening exercises, vocabulary activities including idiomatic speech, a quiz script, and conversation. You can choose how you want to present the activities, and you could use it either for individual listening practice or for group work as a class. One of the best ways to utilize the site is to project the quiz onto the screen while the conversation is playing. You can decide whether you want to make the listening conversations part of practice, an opportunity for a group quiz, or simply take bits and pieces of what is presented and create your own activities. The conversations are perfect for launching into discussions and also provide substantive support materials for a range of topics. Students enjoy the challenge and stimulation of these real-world dialogues. It's so constructive that the conversations are presented in natural speech, and are not slowed down or unnatural as many books often present.

    Another website created by Randall is the Train Your Accent website. It is a newer site with not as much content, but the content provided is rich with more real-world language to train students in listening and also in speaking. There aren't many websites out there dedicated to helping students understand different accents and also work on their own. This website has short listening exercises accompanied by a script, reduced speech script, and ideas for a few activities. This website would also be very useful for self-paced study or individual projects.

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    Music and Movies

    Music and movies are another wonderful resource to facilitate natural listening exercise which also add an element of playfulness and change of pace. Creating lessons with music can be time-consuming as can finding movies that are appropriate for ESL audiences. One website does the work for you, and if you are looking for visuals to go along with the listening, all these resources are videos. The website is ESL Video.

    There are videos of songs, movies trailers, and short movie clips. Each exercise comes ready made with questions, transcript, and notes. The videos are catalogued by level, but you can also perform a search if there is something particular you are looking for. One other cool aspect of this website is that you can register for free in order to create your own video quizzes. The resources are presented expertly and the possibilities for utilizing these videos is only limited by your imagination.

    There is another stellar website that is designed for learners to practice not just listening, but reading and writing as well. It is ESL Fast. It provides a wealth of stories and conversations, many of which have an audio file accompanied by a script or story. The listening exercises use authentic speech and interesting language to provide a very effective resource for discussion, question and answer, or independent practice. Each listening exercise also comes with a list of vocabulary words, yes/no questions, cloze, crosswords, keys, and even dictation. These exercises are designed to be worked through online, but can easily be printed out or used with an overhead projector. There is no limit to how you could utilize these conversations and stories!

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    Podcasts have become so popular, why not bring them into your ESL classroom? NPR and the BBC have hundreds of podcasts on all types of topics. Most of them are at least 30 minutes in length, so you would need to choose excerpts for your advanced level students. Podcasts are an interesting resource for students who really want challenging, thought-provoking listening activities. Podcasts would be an effective assignment for project-based work that speaks directly to students and their interests. The topics and language are challenging, spoken in natural English with American and British accents, and there are no scripts available.

Listening exercises don't have to be rote or run-of-the-mill. As with all online resources, be sure that you have a solid plan in place before presenting exercises to the class, and don't rely completely on the website to do your work for you.

There are tremendous resources awaiting you, and using these websites combined with your own creative style, you can surely amplify your students' skills.

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