There are several active listening strategies that we can teach to our students.

I’ve grouped them into 8 categories:  


Focusing attention







All are important! 

Consider concrete ways to teach, discuss, practice, and review these strategies! 

Group 1:  Planning

Planning means:  developing an awareness of the steps needed to accomplish a listening task.

It means considering the outcome before you begin. In other words, clarify the goals of a task before listening. 

How to do this?

Anticipating content that may be introduced: what words, what ideas, what attitudes.

Anticipation provides a “template” for slotting in information as you hear it.

Anticipating means coming up with an ‘action plan’.  What am I going to do when I get this information.

An action plan provides a “task structure” for anticipating what is going to happen next.  

These are ways of mentally rehearsing the steps to take to deal with a listening task.  

Teaching Tip: 

One concrete planning device is using “advance organizers.”  

Create an outline or a graph or set of visuals to guide the listening process. 

About The Author

, Listening Strategies:  #1 Planning, 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.