How to use our ESL Listening Activities

Off2Class has just released our first set of ESL Listening Activities, which are aimed at Beginner students. The recordings contain authentic graded English, and a variety of accents. They are designed to be led by a Teacher and are perfect for classrooms and tutorials (both online and in-person).

Our first series of ten ESL Listening Activities are brighter and more beautiful than ever, and as simple as always to use. As with all lessons on Off2Class, the lesson slides come with useful Teacher Notes and also contain engaging images and relevant text. Our lessons look great on any screen, from a cell phone to a tablet, a laptop to a whiteboard – and they help to maintain the focus of the participants.
Along with the recordings, the lessons contain pre-listening and post-listening activities, and naturally go well with other lesson plans on our site. As always, we’ve created teacher-led content, which means you’ll need to be involved in the lesson – this is not about switching on an audio file and sitting back passively! We know that a good teacher promotes listening skills, and so we’ve designed our lessons to ensure you add value to the student.
Use our ESL Listening Activities with your beginners…
We’re starting our Listening Activities Category with lesson aimed at Beginners (CEFR A1), since it remains challenging to find graded authentic audio at this level that is combined with a lesson plan for use on screens.
Each lesson starts with a task to elicit information, and perhaps one or two other pre-listening activities to get students thinking:
ESL-Listening-Activities ESL-Listening-Activities
Next comes the recording. The audio controls are situated at the top of the relevant slide. No controls? Then no recording on that slide! The Teacher Notes also contain a small icon in the top left-hand corner that denotes a recording:
ESL Listening Activities for online lessons?
Ensure that you have tested the audio before teaching the lesson! If you are teaching online and using a screen share function, please test it out beforehand. You do need to know if your videoconferencing software allows you to share computer audio. If you use, which Off2Class recommends highly, all you need to do is tick ‘share sound’ when you activate the share screen function:
For users of Skype, Hangouts and other videoconferencing systems, be sure to use the workarounds available if you want your students to hear the recordings (another reason we love!). Of course, you can always unplug your headphones and run the sound through your internal microphone.
After the recording has played, the following activity may be either to listen again for a deep understanding of the text, or perhaps a controlled practice activity, to promote naturalness. Don’t be afraid to model sound bites, to drill and to repeat the recording if the students wants it. And since we use different accents in the recordings, it’s a perfect opportunity to practice pronunciation and drilling down to phonemes if you need to!
ESL-Listening-Activities ESL-listening-activities

We hope you enjoy teaching with our ESL Listening Activities as much as we do! Get in touch with comments, suggestions and feedback below.


  • Sheila Magda says:

    January 21, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Wow! this is great! Hope you release all levels listening activity soon! Congratulations!

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      January 21, 2016 at 8:25 am

      Glad you’re enjoying them Sheila. Yes, we’re planning on building the section out sequentially. Stay tuned…

  • tatjana says:

    January 23, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Thank you! This is really great and useful! Congratulations!

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      January 23, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      And thank you for your comment. We’re glad that you like the Listening Activities.
      Best wishes,

  • Andrew says:

    January 29, 2016 at 12:45 am

    I used these listening materials yesterday to teach a class to a group of 30 students online. I used the WeChat platform which is very popular in China. I say 30 as 30 were invited but only 5 actually were online.
    These materials are extremely professional and as a new budding teacher it just adds extra value to what I offer my students. So I really want to thank Off2Class for putting such visual and effective resources up.
    Using WeChat was actually difficult however I was able to easily screen share these materials and the students were able to open and see very easily the resources on their smartphones and computers. WeChat employs a type of walkie-talkie feature. So I would have students do a gap fill and then read back to me with their answers. Then I corrected pronunciation. So that is how I used this listening resource. I must stress again that the materials are very clear even if a student is using a smartphone to view them. I did not think it was humanly possible to teach anyone if they had a smartphone in their hand but guess what I did. I know I helped improve pronunciation and provided a fun lesson focusing on listening skills.
    As for the listening tracks, I would just read the teacher slide to my students and have them do the gapfill. That was the easiest (non-techy) way for me to solve that issue. WeChat is not like I literally was typing on my computer and using my smartphone like a walkie-talkie. I do remember one slide did not have the transcript on the teacher slide. In that case, I just played the audio and then I spoke to the class.
    All in all, I am very very happy with Off2Class. I think many students do not understand the value of studying Listening. Even myself, I have discovered through my own language learning that I avoid it. Everyone seems to just want to “Speak”. Or language learners want to build up vocabulary rapidly. But when they hear the word spoken they can’t catch it.
    Nevertheless, I was able to use this listening lesson and teach a group of students on the WeChat platform. I came across very professional and prepared. I was only scheduled to teach for 30 minutes but I carried on for 1.5 hours for free. It was a demo lesson and I was having so much fun. I also wanted to complete a full Off2Class lesson to see just how I could implement the materials in the class. I could work in language centers and get paid more but working for myself just ticks that entrepreneurial bug in me and gives me more freedom. I have even told every online teaching company about Off2Class. And Off2Class materials are similar if not better that what I have already seen used by big online teaching companies. I don’t have to be the best teacher but I am glad that the team with Off2Class are more knowledgeable than I am. They help me shine in the classroom and for that I am thankful. Great work. I am discovering a new passion for teaching that mysteriously can’t be found in many language centers. Now, I look up youtube videos, read blogs and forums for new ideas on teaching theories and interactive games to facilitate learning. So even though it seems that I have the lesson prepared already I am more passionate on learning how to implement them in my own personal way. Great job helping us out.

    • James Heywood (Off2Class) says:

      January 29, 2016 at 1:35 am

      Thank you Andrew. WE really want to create easy-to-use, attractive Listening Exercises that are useful and beneficial to both teachers and students. I agree; too many teacher avoid listening skills lesson because good content is hard to come by. Off2Class is going to ensure that teaching listening skills becomes easier in 2016!
      Best wishes,

  • David Valle says:

    August 6, 2016 at 1:39 am

    What are the workarounds you mentioned for those of us using Skype? What is the best method to have my students on Skype hear the Audio?

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      August 6, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Hi David,
      For Skype lessons you’ll just need to unplug your headphones. Your internal microphone will pick up the sound from your speakers. We’ve kept the sound files as loud as possible be so it should work for you and your students.
      Best of luck!

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