Number one for English language teachers

Listening skills: Guide

Type: Reference material

A short, handy guide to the skills students need to practice to become better listeners.

Listening in a foreign language is a complex process. Students have to be able to understand the main idea of what is said, as well as specific details. They may need to check any predictions they have made, and understand the speaker’s meaning, emotions and opinions. They may have to infer relationships between speakers, or identify the context in which the speakers are operating. Students may well have to use several of these skills in the course of a single listening activity.

Here are some of the main skills involved in listening, together with a brief description of what each skill involves. 

Listening for the main idea – Students listen to identify the overall ideas expressed in the whole recording.

Listening for details – Students listen for groups of words and phrases at sentence level.

Listening for specific information – Students listen for particular information at word level.

Predicting – Students try to guess key information contained in the recording before they listen.

Inferring meaning – Students listen to identify the difference between what the speaker says and what they actually mean.

Identifying emotion – Students listen to identify the mood of certain speakers.

Listening for opinions – Students listen to identify the attitude of certain speakers.

Inferring relationships – Students listen to identify who the people are in the recording and what the relationship is between them.

Recognizing context – Students listen to aural and contextual clues to identify where the conversation takes place, who is speaking, etc.

Rate this resource (4.6 average user rating)

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

You must be signed in to rate.

  • Share

Readers' comments (3)

  • Hi Souhila,

    Thanks for the feedback. You can most certainly cite this information in your research. The original articles were published in 2006. With regards to teaching approaches to listening, you might find it useful to have a look at this article:

    It contains some useful information and some possible extra reading on the topic.

    Best wishes,
    The onestopenglish team

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dear onestopenglish team,
    I have a couple of questions.
    First, I want to know what approach to teaching listening is Miles Craven talking about in this article exactly?
    Second, I want to cite these invaluable information in my research. So what is the year of publication? or how can I cite this work namely as a quote?
    Thank you in advance.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • nice i need some role of teacher in teaching listening

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Powered by Webstructure.NET

Access denied popup