7 Killer Ideas for an ESL Listening Plan

Objective: To improve beginner-level students’ listening skills through various activities and exercises. Use this ESL listening lesson plan as a framework that can be adjusted each week.


Audio clips, worksheets, props for role-play activities, a whiteboard and markers.

Introduction (10 minutes)

Start the class by introducing the topic of listening and its importance in language learning. Explain to the students that in this lesson, they will be working on their listening skills through a variety of activities.

Warm-Up (10 minutes)

As a warm-up, play a simple audio clip for the students and ask them to simply listen and try to understand what they hear. This could be a clip of someone speaking in English about a familiar topic or a simple song. After the clip, ask the students if they understood anything and what they heard.

Listening Dictation (15 minutes)

For this activity, play a short audio clip or podcast episode for the students and ask them to write down what they hear. This can be a conversation between two people or a monologue. After the clip, have the students compare their notes with a partner and then check their answers as a class.

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Radio Show Role-Play (20 minutes)

For this activity, have the students listen to a radio show or podcast and then act out a scene from the show, using their own words to summarize what they heard. Divide the students into small groups and give each group a different section of the radio show to work with. Provide props for the students to use, such as props for a coffee shop or store, as necessary. After each group has finished, have them perform their role-play for the class.

Audio Description (15 minutes)

For this activity, play an audio clip for the students and ask them to describe what they hear. This could be a soundscape, such as the sounds of a busy city, or a news clip, for example. Have the students work in pairs and give them a worksheet with questions to answer about the audio clip. After they have finished, have them compare their answers with another pair and then discuss their answers as a class.

Song Analysis (20 minutes)

For this activity, play a song for the students and ask them to listen for specific vocabulary, grammar structures, or other language features. After the song, have the students work in pairs to identify the language features they heard and write them down. Then, as a class, go over the language features that were found and have a discussion about them.

Storytelling (15 minutes)

For this activity, have the students listen to a story, either as a class or individually, and then ask them to retell the story in their own words. This could be a story from a book or a folktale. Afterwards, have the students share their retellings with the class.

Conclusion (10 minutes)

Wrap up the class by summarizing what the students have learned and what they need to work on in the future. Ask for any questions or feedback about the activities and the class.


The students’ participation and engagement in the activities can serve as informal assessment. You could also use the worksheets from the Audio Description activity as a formal assessment by grading them based on their answers and their ability to describe what they heard.


This lesson plan is designed for a 1-hour class, but you can adjust the timing and activities as necessary to fit the needs of your class.

By incorporating these activities into your ESL listening lesson plan, you can help your students improve their listening skills and become more confident and proficient English speakers.

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