Listening for specific information, listening for details and recognising context.

Photo of a family - setting doesn't matter, as long as it shows parents, children and  grandparents.

Source: PeopleImages, Getty Images

Accents Speed Activity type Time
Chinese female, British female Slow ordering, completing notes 40 minutes


Theme: Talking about your family
Skills: Listening for specific information, listening for details, recognising context
Level: Elementary
Grammar focus: Present simple, Wh- questions
Vocabulary: family, sister, brother, father, mother, grandfather, accountant, mechanic, professor, airline, birthday, office, big, love, enjoy, difficult, next to, university, photo.
Preparation: Download the worksheet and make one copy for every two students. Cut each copy as shown by the lines.


  1. Tell students they are going to hear a telephone conversation between two women. Write these questions on the board: What are their names? What are they doing? When students are ready, play the recording.

Yu Ling and Kate
Yu Ling is telling Kate about her family.

  1. Write sister on the board, then put students into pairs and tell them to make a list of all the other words for different family members and relatives they know. Give them a time limit of one minute, then have one pair write their list on the board, while the others check spelling and add any additional words. If you wish, model the pronunciation of each word as students repeat in a choral drill.
    Ask students if they can remember which of the words on the board they heard on the recording. Point to the list on the board and tell them to listen again and number any of the words they hear in the correct order. Play the recording, then put students into pairs to check their answers.

(in order) sister, brother, father, mother, grandfather

  1. Put students into pairs and give one student a copy of Student A text and the other student a copy of Student B text. Tell them not to look at each other’s paper. Explain they each have a summary of Yu Ling’s family and they must listen carefully and complete the gaps. Play the recording.
    Tell students to swap their texts. Again, tell them not to look at each other’s worksheets. Explain they must listen once more and check their partner’s answers. Play the recording, then check students’ answers.

Yu Ling’s sister is an accountant. It’s a difficult job but she really enjoys it. She works in a big office in Hong Kong. Her brother is a mechanic. He works for an airline. Yu Ling’s father is a professor. He works at Hong Kong University. He loves his job.

Post-listening tasks

  1. Put students into pairs and give each pair a copy of the recording script. Tell them to practice the conversation with their partner.
  2. Put students into pairs and tell them to talk about their own family. Their partner should listen carefully and make notes. When they finish, tell students to swap partners. Explain they should use their notes to talk about their previous partner’s family.