This is a simple way to improve students' concentration during listening activities.

Patricia Ielmini

I'd like to share an activity I learnt from Jeremy Harmer, in his last lecture here in my town. It's called "story words" and I think it can work with different levels.

  • First, choose a text or a short story that students have never heard, then, choose many words from it and write them on the board at random.
  • Divide the class into two teams. Ask students to choose "only one" word without letting the others know it; nobody knows anyone else's word. (In order to prevent cheating, ask the students to write their chosen word down.)
  • Ask them to stand up. Then, tell students they will have to sit down when they hear their word otherwise they stay standing.
  • Finally, read the text or play the tape if it's already recorded. The team who sits first will be the winner.

Believe me, it really works, students just listen, pay attention and have fun. Try it in your class.

Language level
Language Level: 
Pre-intermediate: A2

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