Listening for Gist – the 5 Ws

listeningListening is one of the most overlooked skills, especially in the initial stages / levels of language learning. (see my blog post here about this and download the activities ebook).

Using authentic listening materials combined with the 5 Ws, really makes a great multi level approach. Best used with news reports and I especially like the old “Newsround” of BBC. (here’s the current version) Get many that I’ve saved HERE on EFL Classroom 2.0 for download. They really work because they aren’t so serious in nature and also the reporters are real teens!

There are generally 3 stages to this listening activity.

1. Play the excerpt in full and students note the headline/topic. (give a choice for lower levels).

2. Play the excerpt again and stop before each news item. Ask the students in groups/pairs to ask and answer the 5 Ws for that report. Take up as you go.

3. Play the full program again. Check for comprehension. Get the Ss to make their own news report along the same lines – 5 quick items.

Here’s one I’ve used often in class!

Find more videos like this on EFL CLASSROOM 2.0

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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2 Responses

  1. Tom G. says:

    What grade level is this for?

  2. ddeubel says:


    That really depends on the content/input that you are using. If it is a simple piece of audio, maybe even inauthentic – it would be for low levels. Authentic news reports, BBC and CNN etc… would be for high levels. Newround would be upper intermediate in my estimation.

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