Understanding Other ELLs: An Overlooked Listening Skill

With so much attention on understanding fast speech in movies, TV shows, and other authentic sources, there’s an area of listening comprehension that may not receive the attention it deserves: the speech of language learners. Students tend to focus heavily on listening to native speakers and non-natives with advanced proficiency. As a result, they may…

Fast Speech and Why It Challenges Learners and Teachers

Plenty of learners have told me that they struggle to understand fast speech. I’ve offered study tips and listed resources for listening practice in the past, but I’ve finally decided to make my own special contribution. I’m currently running a 20-day Fast Speech Challenge on YouTube. My goal is to teach some common patterns in terms…

3-step Trip Down Memory Lane: A whole group and small group activity

It’s always fun to build an activity around happy memories. When describing a past experience, students decide how much they’re comfortable sharing, but any amount of sharing helps brings down barriers and creates a stronger sense of community. Furthermore, the content is familiar, and this facilitates self-expression in the target language. The following activity is outlined with intermediate…

The Other Kinds of Listening Skills

When we think of listening skills, we usually think of predicting, making inferences, understanding the speaker’s attitude, and the like. But what about giving feedback? That is, the verbal and non-verbal responses a listener gives to a speaker in everyday conversation.  This includes the nods of agreement and the expressions of surprise such as Oh…

Teaching Practical Skills: Using the Phone in English

Phone skills are a necessity. Let’s face it. Even when one makes a phone call in his or her native language, there are plenty of reasons why misunderstandings and awkward moments can occur: a poor connection, a speaker who rambles, lack of etiquette… Dealing with these problems in a foreign language only adds to the…