Teaching listening: frequently overlooked difficulties and practical solutions

This page was created for the participants of a workshop I gave at DonELTA Winter School 2016. 


During this workshop the participants

  • analyzed a video to identify some of the typical listening difficulties experienced by the learners of English;
  • looked at how in-built functionality of Youtube could be used to give learners tasks to address those difficulties.

We then discussed that these listening difficulties are commonly caused by some very frequent grammar structures and so it would be a good idea to consistently target these difficulties by giving learners practice listening to authentic audios that contain the grammar structures that they’re currently studying.

I then showed the participants Hydra, a new web tool that I’m developing together with my partner. The tool lets you search Youtube subtitles to find examples of words, expressions and grammar structures. Using this tool you can

  • create listening quizzes that target specific language areas and share the link to those quizzes with your students;
  • find videos that contain examples of the language point that you want to address, to use in class.

Finally, we did some quizzes created with Hydra, and looked at a sample lesson for a pre-intermediate group based on an authentic video found through Hydra.

Materials and links

The video analyzed during the workshop:

The slides (download the version with videos and audios from here):


A few samples of Hydra searches:

More quizzes: http://kirilloid.ru/hydra/quizzes.php


Sample lesson targeting decoding skills at lower levels (Pre-Intermediate, A2/A2+):

Other listening materials on this blog (including lesson plans with worksheets).