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Ministry of Education.


Listening Strategy: Listen-up

ESOL Principles:

Most strategies can be used to support all seven of the ESOL principles dependent upon how the teacher decides to use the strategy within their teaching and learning planning cycle. This strategy is usually used to support:

Principle 3: Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes?

Principle 4: Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete. How can I put these concepts into a concrete context?

Principle 5: Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on students using academic language. Is the language focus on key language? Do I make sure the students have many opportunities to notice and use new language?


Listen-up: can be used to develop fluency in recognising word/sound correspondences and to identify main ideas in a text. It can also be used to recycle vocabulary or to help students to notice certain types of words.

The teacher prepares a list of words (about 10 at most) from a short text, which the students then copy down in a list. The teacher reads the text aloud, a little more slowly than normal reading speed, and the students tick each word every time they hear it. At the end of the reading they count up the number of ticks for each word and this will help to identify the main ideas in the text.

Alternatively students can number the words in the order that they are heard while the text Is being read.

video icon Primary level: Making Language and Learning Work DVD 3 – Science, Year 7/8.This is a variation on the Listen-up activity which requires students to listen for words and their definitions. The students are required to match up the words and their definitions on cards and to put the cards into the same order that the teacher read them out.

Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

Primary level:

Secondary level:

  • Marine mammals- Writing Information Texts, English/ESOL Unit Standard 171444

Some possible Teacher Inquiry questions:

  • In order to continue the multiple opportunities for learning, what vocabulary support/listening/reading strategies would you introduce next?
  • Do I need to discuss with, or remind my students of strategies that good listeners use before doing this activity? How would this benefit them?
  • Will the words I have selected lead to students understanding the learning outcome?
  • Can my students use the vocabulary when discussing the main ideas?


Useful websites:

Published on: 14 Jul 2012