Title: Authentic listening: stepping from bottom-up decoding to understanding
13 April (Monday), 14.35-15.20 Exchange 1


We will present a generic listening lesson plan for B1 – C2 groups that makes use of built-in functionality and a wide range of materials available on youtube.com and addresses listening difficulties not normally addressed in course books. Our procedure cuts down lesson preparation time and results in listening lessons that are engaging, interactive and tailored to a group’s difficulties.


Listening to fast speech continues to present difficulties to learners even at higher levels. One important reason for that is that in the course of their studies learners do not get enough training in coping with features of connected speech. Recently there has been insightful research into this type of listening difficulties, but the findings of this research have not found their way into most course books yet. Since materials are scarce, a teacher wishing to efficiently help their students with bottom-up processing faces the burdensome task of editing authentic materials to collect enough samples for the students to practice.

In the workshop participants will:

  • Get insight into what makes listening decoding challenging through analyzing audio samples of authentic speech;
  • Find out how to use functionality of youtube.com and free offline software to address those challenges with no need for time-consuming file editing;
  • Learn to use our highly interactive generic listening lesson plan, having experienced the tasks that constitute the plan;
  • Take on the listening instructor’s role and practice identifying features of connected speech in authentic extracts and scaffolding a colleague with those difficulties;
  • Get links to a wide range of engaging materials that can be used with our lesson plan.

After this workshop participants will be able to diagnose key decoding difficulties their students experience in a given listening passage, and, with minimal lesson preparation, provide their students with a sequence of activities that start with decoding training and culminate in listening with improved comprehension.

The video analyzed during the workshop:

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

Handout (my typical listening lesson): 

Handout (teachers’ notes and tips): 

Other listening materials on this blog (including two lesson plans with worksheets – I’ll be posting more in the next few weeks). 

Also, my friend and I are developing a free tool that will allow users you to search youtube transcripts and work on their listening decoding skills. Watch this space (or send me an email on olyaelt@gmail.com / skype me on olga_sergeeva@epam.com) to have a look at the early (very half-baked) version.

Also, if you’ve got questions or try out my materials, or especially if you think it’s never going to work, do get in touch! I feel a dire shortage of people with whom I could discuss listening in general and teaching decoding skills in particular. Hoping to hear from you!


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