maximising listening scripts

How to Maximise Audio Scripts

Here’s a question for you. How often do you use the listening scripts in the back of the book for follow-up work or additional activities? Be honest! Now, I’m going to guess most of you are thinking ‘not often’, and you wouldn’t be alone. From my experience of doing countless observations I have to say I’ve never seen a teacher use them other than to give students the chance to read and listen or to role play before moving onto the next task. But why not? We virtually always mine reading texts for language, but rarely do the same with listening scripts (which are just another type of text). This is all the more puzzling because listening scripts are often an absolute goldmine for language, specifically spoken language.

Collocation Hunt

This is a super easy task and requires absolutely no teacher preparation. Simply ask students to turn to the audio script (or give them printed Word versions if available) and, working independently or in pairs, identify and underline/highlight as many chunks, collocations, set phrases as possible. Students will invariably ‘find’ different ones, so it’s always a good idea to pair the pairs up to compare ideas. As a follow up you can then get students to choose their favourite phrase and then write a sentence about themselves using it. The students then share their sentences and explain to their group why they chose it. The reason why this is such a great activity is that it highlights just how common these chunks and set phrases are in spoken English and gets them using them. It also builds students’ vocabulary knowledge and helps with strategies for effective listening and reading.

Mixed Up Scripts

This activity works well when you have a dialogue. Simply cut up the conversation and get students to re-order it before listening to the audio. If you want to add an extra challenge, then you could cut up two different dialogues, mix them up and then get students to re-order them. They then listen and check.

Spot The Difference

This is a really task to do if you have the audio scripts available in Word format. Simply change as many details as you want and give the students the updated script. They then listen and see if they can ‘spot’ all the differences. This is particularly good for encouraging students to really focus on individual words.

All Mixed Up

For this activity the teacher should chooses a number of phrases or expressions from the audio script and then put them on the board in a random order. In pairs the students then discuss what the context of the phrases was as well as the order in which they appeared in the listening. They then listen and check their ideas.

Be The Teacher

This activity could be done before the main listening activity or after. Give students a copy of the audio script and ask them to write 4-5 questions each on a piece of paper. The students then switch questions before listening to the audio again and answering their partners’ questions. This activity works well as it gives students control, which they love, can be highly motivating, as well as giving them practice at writing question. It also allows for differentiation in the class.


This is quite a creative and challenging activity which I’ve found students can really engage students, especially at higher levels. Choose an appropriate dialogue and remove all of the words from one of the speakers, essentially providing half the script. In pairs the students must then complete the script with their own ideas, using the context of the other speaker’s words to help them. As follow up you can then get students to perform their new conversations for the class.

How do you plan to maximise scripts in your classroom? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Author: Alex Warren

Alex Warren is a DELTA trained teacher trainer with over 14 years’ experience of working in ELT as a teacher, academic director and teacher trainer. Working for National Geographic Learning, Alex is driven by his passion for developing teachers on a global scale and helping them to reach their true potential. A firm believer in a communicative approach to language learning and student centred learning, Alex enjoys working with innovative, thought-provoking materials and presenting on a wide range of ELT-related topics.

One comment

  1. Hi I’m getting encouraged with this blog, I will use all the ideas I read here so that along of my time in my classrooms I have forgotten, or some i’ve never done,… thanks I like it.

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