Games to Teach English Listening

Here's a collection of games to teach English listening. Most of these TEFL games are for children. For activities that work well with adults as well as children see the article ESL listening. There are many good ways to teach listening, and ESL games are one of these.

Spot the Nonsense is best for children, although it could be adapted for older learners. The teacher - or a student - says a sentence in which one of the words is wrong. For example, "ducks have four legs." The students must give the correct version. A variation is to say crazier sentences where more than one thing is wrong. For example, "chickens usually fly around the supermarket." This time the response should be "chickens never fly around the supermarket."

Another variation is for the teacher to read aloud a story which has several 'mistakes' written into it. The students must listen and raise their hands to correct when they hear a mistake.

Teacher Says is one of the classic ESL games to teach English listening. It's also known as Simon Says. Give the children an instruction: "Touch your knees," or "Point to the fruit poster." If the command is prefaced by 'Teacher Says,' the students must follow the command. If there is no 'Teacher Says,' the students must not follow the command.

Who is it? - Divide the class into teams, and have one member from each team stand at the front of the classroom facing the board. A student in the class stands behind them and asks a question. The student who raises his/her hand first must name the student and answer the question. If the student can name the speaker, the student's team gets one point, and the other student has the opportunity to answer the question for a point.

Listen and Do - Divide the class into teams and give a command. The team or an individual responds to the command. The other team must decide whether the action is correct. Many types of commands can be given. For example, "stand by the door and point to the window," or "jump three times, turn around and tell me the names of three vegetables." Points can be given for correct responses, and/or for giving correct commands.

Picture Dictation one of the games to teach English listening which is also suitable for adults. It can be done in a number of ways, but basically involves one person describing a picture or diagram, while the other student/s draw. The first time this is done it's best for the teacher to describe, while the students listen and draw. The drawings can be discussed after. This activity works well for adults and children.


Simple pictures (such as this forest spirit) work best for Picture Dictation.

Listening to Stories is a good listening game-like listening activity, and it can be approached in many ways. One way is to tell a story that you have prepared [true or otherwise] and the students answer questions - as with any listening comprehension. Another variation is for the students to ask questions to get more detail, or for the teacher to ask the students questions to add more detail. For example names, details about clothing, the weather etc. Simply listening to an amusing or interesting story is good listening practice.


from games to teach english listening to esl games 

homepage