Teaching Listening: While-Listening Activities

Aims and types of while-listening activities


In while-listening activities students can check their comprehension of what they expected/predicted and what they actually hear. Students may focus on

  • The content.
  • What are the topics and sub topics?
  • How are topics and sub topics related
  • The speakers’ use of language.
  • What words do the speakers use to introduce a new idea?
  • How do they change the topic?
  • How do they express uncertainty?
  • How does their intonation change during the text?

While-listening activities may also prompt students’ reactions to the ideas in the listening text; for example, students may ask themselves questions like ‘Do I agree with what they say? Is there another side to what they say?’

Most while-listening activities focus on these subskills:

  • Listening for the gist
  • Listening for specific information
  • Listening for the speaker’s attitude or opinion

Depending on the listening text we want to use, the subskills of listening we want to focus on, the level of our students, and their interests, we can select the while-listening task that best fits our needs.



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