Our listening ability – and motivation to listen better – grows through successful 

“listening experiences.” 

A “listening experience” is a self-contained event that involves the listener constructing meaning from the event.  Typically, for pedagogic purposes, a memorable listening event will be 1 or 2 minutes minimum up to 15 minutes maximum. 

It is focused on one central theme and may or may not have a concrete (observable)  outcome, but there has to be some “takeaway” for the listener. 

The concept of “listening experience” is focused on the relevance of the listening input (and any corresponding task) to the listener.  Relevance is the “essential value” to the listener, either having  personal or “intrinsic” value (it affects the listener’s personal life) or its pragmatic or “extrinsic” value (it has some value for functional reasons), or both. ( The instructor of course can attempt to  build relevance for the listeners before they listen.) 

One important gradient in these experiences is the degree of  “authenticity.” An authentic experience is one that occurs naturally “in the real world.”  By contrast, an invented or  pedagogic experience is one that is constructed explicitly for the purpose of teaching.  Although there is no clear boundary between the two types, authentic experiences are preferred in that they tend to generate real emotions, which is a component of long-term learning. 

For each listening experience, evaluate its relevance to you.  Since you’re a language teacher, the functional value of the extract should include its potential (as is or adapted in some way) as a teaching tool.  

(Master List)

Mono No Aware 2 minute 1p monologue, linguistics, cross cultural content(ADV) 
Condolences 1.5 minute 2p Dialogue: Scripted language, conversation, emotional topic(INT)
Names 1 minute 3-monologues(BEG) English Firsthand Success, Unit 1 Real Stories  
Somebody’s Daughter 7 minute 2p interview (NPR) with author, narrating a difficult piece of family history(ADV) 
Everyday: Noah’s Self Portraits 5 minute 1p Nonverbal expose of man recording self images over time (BEG)
 Hobbies and Interests 2 minute 1p presentation, with coaching prelim, with subtitles     EF1 PRESENTATION MODEL VIDEOS FINAL  Nicole:  Talk about Hobbies Unit 7, starts at 0:33 
 Family Values 2 minute 2p conversation, values clarification, audio only Track 13 (Unit 7)
Happiness7 minute 1p monologue/lectureUniversity, simplified, with lecture notes!/1275722 (Unit 1)  
Self Introduction 1 minute 1p monologue Unit 1 
You’re hired! 1 minute 2p dialogueInformal job interview PEI 1 C.5 
Biography TPR narration     narration
Chair Yoga Demo
Narrow Listening  
Doctor Zubin interview
ShadowingI Have A Dream speech
Educational TV
Mental Health talk
Story Corps Sample
Super Learner Interviews


About The Author

, Listening Experiences, Lateral Communications
Michael Rost, principal author of Pearson English Interactive, has been active in the areas of language teaching, learning technology and language acquisition research for over 25 years. His interest in bilingualism and language education began in the Peace Corps in West Africa and was fuelled during his 10 years as an educator in Japan and extensive touring as a lecturer in East Asia and Latin America. Formerly on the faculty of the TESOL programs at Temple University and the University of California, Berkeley, Michael now works as an independent researcher, author, and speaker based in San Francisco.