Listening Domain – How to Teach it!

Active listening

Are you wondering about the ESL Listening Domain and how to teach it to your English learners? You are not alone. As elementary ESL teachers, we are dealing with students who have a tough and important task: learning a new language! This is part 1 of a 2 part blog post dedicated to teaching the listening domain!

Building Strong Listening Domain Skills

We know that it is important to build a strong English foundation for our ELLs.  It involves introducing ESL students to the language in such a way that allows them to access new and unknown sounds and words but also understand them.   One of the 4 domains English learners need explicit instruction in, is the listening domain. Building listening comprehension is a foundational building block.  Essential instruction includes giving ELLs a wide variety of listening exercises that are fun and supportive as well as attuned to their age and skill level.

In order for ESL students to effectively develop their skills in the listening domain, we must create opportunities for our ELLs to listen to:

  • native speakers
  • interpret the context clues from longer conversations or discourse
  • learn new idioms
  • comprehend cultural nuances, international slang, colloquialisms and so much more!

This can be accomplished using listening conversations and games that allow the English learners to practice their newfound skills and discuss key concepts that they need to learn during class.

  • Whenever possible, it’s useful to incorporate real-life scenarios when teaching ESL or ELL learners so they gain practical experience. 
  • Use tape recorders, music CDs, and songs and news from YouTube or the radio.

We must create activities to help students engage in the listening domain, such as providing visuals with audio tutorials using:

  • Charts
  • Diagrams
  • Images

With all of these moving pieces, we can greatly aid our ESL learners by providing structured scaffolding techniques and proper support as they work through learning how to interpret and respond correctly in language-specific contexts.  How do we do this?

One option for primary-level learners:

Get students to transcribe stories; there are many ESL audio clips online that provide this style of exercise.

Meanwhile, advanced ESL learners can benefit from more realistic conversations about current events or debates. Add stories where the content may not always resolve completely by the end. Encouraging critical thinking and inference.

These exercises should all aim to boost ESL students’ understanding and overall listening comprehension. As always, it is essential to break large tasks into smaller chunks and provide step-by-step instructions.

Make sure to tune in next week for Part 2 and find some important tips on how to effectively incorporate active listening comprehension into your lessons.

Hope you find this helpful!

I would love to hear your comments below!

Happy Teaching!
Let’s Teach! Lori
Join us friends!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *