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Listening skills lesson plans: Talking about people

Level: Intermediate Type: Teaching notes Print material

Listening for specific information and listening for details


AccentsSpeedActivity typeTime
American femaleSlowMatching, gap fill45 minutes


Theme:Talking about people
Skills:Listening for specific information, listening for details
Grammar focus:Wish + simple past
Vocabulary:annoyed, annoying, argumentative, bossy, easygoing, embarrassed, even-tempered, generous, mad (angry), moody, sociable, stubborn, sympathetic, upset, worried
Preparation:Download the worksheet and make one copy for every student. Cut each copy as shown by the lines.


  1. Put students into groups and tell them to list as many adjectives as they can that describe personality. Write annoying on the board as an example, and then give students one minute to think of as many other personality adjectives as they can. When they finish, tell each group in turn to call out one adjective and write them all on the board. Mark the word stress and review pronunciation. Finally, tell students to put a plus sign (+) next to the positive adjectives and a minus sign (–) next to the negative adjectives. Optional extension: Add the –ed form of any –ing adjectives, such as annoyed/annoying. Tell students to call out any other personality adjectives they know that can end in both –ed and –ing (for example, bored/boring, interested/interesting, etc.). Point out that –ed personality adjectives describe how someone feels, e.g. embarrassed, while –ing personality adjectives describe someone who is, e.g. embarrassing
  2. Explain to students that they are going to hear a young woman called Rebecca describing various members of her family, as well as herself. Give each student a copy of the chart from Worksheet 7. Give students time to study the chart. Explain they must listen and complete the missing information. When students are ready, play the recording.


    a. Brad
    b. mom
    c. Bill
    d. generous
    e. moody
    f. bossy
    g. argumentative
    h. sympathetic
    i. even-tempered
    j. sociable
    k. annoying

  3. Give each student a copy of the Question Sheet. Put students into pairs and ask them if they can complete any of the answers. Give them a few moments to discuss their ideas, and then play the recording again while students listen and complete any remaining answers.


a. her mom
b. her dad
c. because he always talks to people in the street
d. because he’s very stubborn
e. because he always tells her what to do
f. because she likes to give presents and help people
g. her mom, because she never gets mad or annoyed

  1. Write I wish I was on the board. Explain that wish with the simple past is for things that you would like to change at the present time. Tell students to listen again to the recording and note two sentences Rebecca says using this construction. Explain they should write each sentence they hear.


a. I wish I was like her
b. I wish he was a little more easygoing

Post-listening tasks

  1. Tell students to note the names of three people they know well (either family or friends). Tell them to make a list of two personality adjectives to describe each person. Encourage them to think of one positive adjective and one negative adjective for each person. Explain they should also try to give a reason for their choice of adjectives. Write an example on the board to start them off, such as:

James (my brother) amusing – he loves to tell jokes
selfish – he never thinks of anyone but himself

When they are ready, put students into groups and tell them to talk about the people on their list. Tell them to also say what they would like to be different about each person. Refer to your example on the board as a model: My brother’s name is James. He’s amusing because he loves to tell jokes. I think he’s selfish, though, because he never thinks of anyone but himself. I wish he wasn’t so selfish.

  1. Now tell students to think about themselves. Tell them to list three adjectives that describe their personality. Encourage them to note reasons why they think those adjectives apply to them. Then put them into groups to exchange their ideas. Explain they should ask the other members of their group to say whether or not they agree with the adjectives they chose.
  2. Write I wish I was more… / I wish I wasn’t so… on the board and tell students to make sentences about themselves and tell the people in their group. For example, I wish I was more confident. I wish I wasn’t so fussy.

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Readers' comments (7)

  • thanks a lot for interesting lessons

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  • Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for your feedback. Is this the series of lessons you are looking for?

    Please let us know.
    Many thanks,
    The onestopenglish team

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  • Please help I am looking for a lesson I used about international foods, activity 7 but cant find it anywhere... have you taken if off the web site? thanks for your help. Ruth

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  • Hi bill,

    Thanks for your feedback. Have you tried downloading the audio file to your computer before saving it on your usb?

    Best wishes,
    The onestopenglish team

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  • hi - I´m trying to download to a usb - but it doesn´t work. I can hear it fine on pc. Any suggestions?

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  • Hi Christine,

    The recording should begin automatically when you left click on it. However, if that does not work try the following:

    Right click on 'Talking about people - recording', select 'Save as...' from the drop down menu that appears, save the file to your desktop, right click on the icon that will now appear on your desktop, select 'Open with...' from the drop down menu that appears, and select a media player to play the recording with.

    If you have not already downloaded a media player, do this first. Both Windows Media Player and VLC Media Player should work perfectly well with this file.

    Hope that helps.

    Best wishes,

    The onestopenglish team

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  • I can't download the recording ....talking about people... any suggestions?

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