Sunday, February 8, 2015

TV Show Listening Worksheets

I don't always think it's beneficial to use to use TV shows in class time because while it's definitely more fun for students, the learning objectives of these longer activities are not always clear. I usually reserve TV show activities for substitute lessons or test days. The following worksheets have been designed to teach phrasal verbs and colloquialisms, help students listen both for gist and for detail, and challenge students to make inferences based on character dialogue. Each episode relates too to the topic of the unit it's used in conjunction with.

My Latin American students get a kick out of this 44-minute episode because it features a murder on the set of a telenovela. The over-the-top accented Spanish in the episode gives them a laugh. The dialogue of this show is very brisk and peppered with pop culture references, so I use it exclusively for Upper Intermediate - Advanced levels.

I usually use this worksheet for lower levels, Pre-intermediate - Intermediate, because the questions are more fact-based and less inference-based, and can be answered even without hearing every line. And it's only 22 minutes. I usually also leave the subtitles on for lower levels on this one. It can still be a great discussion catalyst for higher levels, given that it hits on racism, protest, and why we study history.

I use this 44-minute episode as a lead-in to talking about interpersonal conflict, family drama, and conflict resolution. Gilmore Girls episodes are great for Upper Intermediate - Advanced levels because they speak so quickly and the dialogue is quite sharp and witty. I try to use with predominantly female classes; male students have reported being amused by it, but still find the show "girly."

I also use The Office episode "Conflict Resolution" with a rotating set of discussion questions because it is so on point for this topic, and the Upper Intermediate students really respond to the humor.

This episode is my lead-in to my lesson about small town Americana. (Usually part of a unit that includes dystopias/utopias, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," and socioeconomic status across the globe.) Over 44 minutes it shows some of the fun traditions small towns can have. The worksheet is simple enough to be used with Low Intermediate - High Intermediate, but in this case I leave the subtitles on, because the dialogue is quite challenging because of speed.

Admittedly, this is a movie, not a TV show, but I reserve this lesson for those class days where no one comes to school, either because of the weather or because of holiday traveling days. Our class blocks are three hours long, so I can comfortably show the whole movie while stopping periodically to check in with students in plenary regarding the worksheet. I've used this with the Intermediate level without subtitles.

Hopefully these worksheets can provide some ideas of how to use your favorite TV shows in the classroom. Please let me know how these worksheets can be edited or improved to hit on listening skills and target language!

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