TeachingEnglish
Predicting language for context

This simple activity encourages students to predict language for situations before they listen. It is closely related to question styles often found in EFL exams, but could be easily adapted for other listening work.

Its main use is in listening skills development.

  • Choose a lexical group, such as feelings, locations/places, types of people, jobs. For example:-
    • Locations / places - A bank, a petrol station, a school, a hospital…
    • Jobs - A doctor, a shop assistant, a bus conductor, an office worker…
    • Feelings - Happy, excited, sad, disappointed, bored, fascinated…
  • Place the students in small groups. Put each word on a separate piece of paper and put them in a pile for each group, face down.
  • A student takes a slip of paper and says something that would be spoken in the context given by the piece of paper. The other students have to guess the context.
    • For example, a student picks the word 'doctor' and says, 'I'll give you these, and you need to take them twice a day, before meals.' The other students shout out the word 'doctor'. The fastest wins a point. The next student draws a card…


You could use more than one context at a time, but be sure the students know which lexical sets are in use.

Once students are used to this kind of work, you should find that pre-listening tasks such as 'Predicting the language used in an argument between a parent and a teenager' are more fruitful.

Gareth Rees, teacher and materials writer

Average: 3.5 (15 votes)