How to Create an ESL Listening Lesson Plan


Lesson plans ensure success by establishing goals and then outlining activities to reach these goals. The particular goals of an English as a Second Language (ESL) listening lesson plan depend on the level — beginner, intermediate or advanced — of students’ ability to comprehend English. ESL lessons that focus on listening can involve a variety of teaching strategies and activities, but they all require either a person speaking or listening to a prerecorded audio to provide students with opportunities to practice their listening skills.

  • Establish the objectives of the lesson. Decide specifically what you want your students to learn. Write down specific goals, such as: “Students will understand vocabulary and phrases related to taking different methods of transportation.” A goal with a vague description (for example: “Students will become better listeners”) is too large and impossible to achieve in one lesson.

  • Outline any material or concepts that your students need to review to understand this lesson. For example, students might require previous knowledge of the “5 Ws”: who, what, where, when and why. Indicate how you will present this review — on a blackboard, whiteboard, PowerPoint presentation or handout.

  • Plan an engaging activity or mini-lecture to grab students’ attention. A mini-lecture could explain the importance of why students need to learn this lesson, such as arguing for the necessity of learning how to ask when a train is coming, where a bus stops or how much a ticket costs, because students use these services every day.

  • Prepare one or more main activities to enable students to practice their listening comprehension. These could include reading aloud a script and having students take notes and answer questions. You can do the same with an audio track. Then, divide students into partners and have them practice listening to each other. Instruct one partner to ask the other person a set of prepared questions, such as: “What time does the bus to New York City leave?” Have the other student respond by choosing the appropriate answer from a set list, such as: “The bus to New York City leaves at 12 o’clock.”

  • Design a mini-quiz to assess what your students learned. Read a script that the students have practiced throughout the class; ask the students to answer questions about the vocabulary in the script. Use their score on this quiz as a mark that counts toward their total grade for the class.

Tips & Warnings

  • Increase the difficulty of activities, according to the level of your students’ abilities. For example, instead of providing prepared questions and answers, ask students to develop their own set of questions and answers.


  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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