Big City Small World

This is a fun listening activity that can be used with adults and secondary groups. It exploits the Big City Small World audio soap from LearnEnglish.

There is a lead-in activity that students do individually (listening and deciding whether statements are true or false) and then a follow on task where students write their own true or false worksheet based on a second listening.Activity type: Pair work/listeningLevel: up to B1Age: Adults or senior YLsPreparation

  • On the board write Big City Small World. Explain that this is the name of a audio series, or audio soap. Tell students that they are going to meet one of the characters. His name is Harry. 
  • Give each student a copy of the worksheet. Give students a few minutes to read through the statements and to ask any questions about unknown language.


  • Students listen to Harry Wakefield in the 'Meet the Cast' section of the series. You can see links to 'Meet the Cast' on this page: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/big-city-small-world
  • Students complete the worksheet during or after listening.
  • Check students’ answers as a whole class. 
  • Divide students into pairs; A and B. Tell them to choose another character from the series (each pair choose two different characters).
  • Students should listen to their chosen character’s introduction and make notes. Allow students to listen as many times as they can but set a limited time (about 10 minutes).
  • Students should use their notes to make a new worksheet (worksheet 2). They write 10 statements about their character (5 false and 5 true). Note: Make sure students keep a record of the true and false statements.
  • Students exchange worksheets with the partners, listen to the corresponding character and decide whether the statements are true or false.
  • Students correct each other’s worksheets. 

ExtensionAs a follow up activity get students to write a short biography of one of the characters they have listened to.HomeworkInvite students to watch the first episode of BCSW. Answers to worksheet 11 True; 2 True; 3 False; 4 True; 5 True; 6 False; 7 False; 8 False; 9 True; 10 TrueBy Katherine BilsboroughThe worksheets are downloadable and in pdf format - right click on the attachments below and save them on your computer.Copyright - please readAll the materials on these pages are free for you to download and copy for educational use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place these materials on any other web site without written permission from the BBC and British Council. If you have any questions about the use of these materials please email us at: teachingenglish@britishcouncil.org

Average: 3.2 (112 votes)


neilballantyne's picture
TE Team

Great ideas for using the Big City Small World content.Big City Small World is also available for iPhone and Android phone users - great for informal out-of-class learning. Students can download the listening materials and cartoons and listen to them anywhere any time.More details at http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/mobile-learning/big-city-small-worldNeil Ballantyne (for the LearnEnglish Mobile team) 

Gulshan Huseynli's picture
Gulshan Huseynli

That's wonderful. I want to have this lesson with my students but I couldn't find the Meet the Cast section.