prove me wrong: checking answers from listening passages

Here is an alternative way to check answers after you have played a listening extract to your class of students.

Find a listening extract from your current textbook series. Play it (twice) and have the students check understanding by letting them compare their answers to the questions. 

Here is a task for a listening exercise from English File Third Edition Upper-Intermediate (page 20).

Listen and make notes. Why do the journalists mention the following?

Liza: a warm cardigan and slippers/a leather miniskirt/teenagers/women of 30+/very short shorts

Adrian: men in their 20s who wear blazers and chinos or suits/men in their 30s

Once students have listened to the recording twice, taken notes and compared their notes in pairs, rather than simply asking: what did Liza say about “a warm cardigan and slippers”?, then choose a student and say: so Liza said that warm cardigans and slippers make ideal presents for grandmothers. This is the actual transcript for that relevant segment of the recording: ” Well, the first thing I’d like to say to all the young people out there is next time you give your granny a warm cardigan and some slippers for her birthday, don’t be surprised if she asks for the receipt, because she’ll probably want to go out and change them for something more exciting”.

The student will have to prove you wrong then by saying something along these lines: “No. You are wrong. Far from that. Liza said that if you give your grandmother a warm cardigan and slippers, she might ask for the receipt to change them for something more exciting“.

This type of exercise presents itself even better for True/False based questions, as it pushes the students into justifying their answers. It adds an extra element of listening, as they will have to listen to you and understand what you are saying, and then prove they understood the recording by proving you wrong. In fact, when we listen (and understand), our brains turn the soundstream into an abstract idea, so the students explanation will actually be a reformulation of the original message with their own words. Sounds stay in the brain for about two seconds and then new incoming information will overwrite them. 

Alternatively, you may also use this idea to start off your lesson on a Monday. Tell your class about your weekend and then think of false statements related to what the students just heard and have them correct you. Then you can ask a student to volunteer to tell the class about his/her weekend and, once again, think of wrong statements for the students to correct one more time. Zero prep. Maximum pay-offs. 

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