ESL Activities for Listening and Speaking | ESL Games

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Do you want to help your students get more practice with listening and speaking English in your classes? Yeah? Thought so.

Then you’ll need to keep reading for the top listening and speaking activities for ESL to help them do that!

Top 10 ESL Activities for Listening and Speaking

If you’re looking for some ESL activities for listening and speaking, you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to give a brief description of our 10 favourite ESL activities that focus on two very important skills-listening and speaking. We’ll also include a link to more details about how to set up the ESL activity and use it in your classes.

#1: ESL Surveys

ESL surveys are one of my all-time favourite ESL Activities for listening and speaking. I love them for the following reasons:

  • They get students up and out of their seats
  • ESL surveys encourage interaction with a wide variety of students
  • Surveys help students practice follow-up questions
  • They’re fun!
  • They can be used for kids, teenagers or adults and are ideal for a variety of levels (except total beginner)
  • They cover all 4 skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking)

For more details about ESL Surveys and how I use them in my own classroom, you’ll need to check out this article:

ESL Surveys and Why I Love Them

#2: Agony Aunt Problem and Advice Activity

agony-aunt-esl-speaking-and-listeningEveryone has problems and everyone loves giving advice. Am I right about that? You’ll also find that almost every single ESL/EFL textbook has a unit that covers this topic. The only real problem is that it can be difficult to keep things fresh for your students when they’ve probably studied this topic before.

Try out Agony Aunt to mix things up a bit. Even lower-level ESL or EFL students can understand basic problems and then give some simple advice using the following structures:

“You/He/She should (n’t)….”

For more details, see this article:

Agony Aunt: An ESL Speaking and Listening Activity

Board Games for ESL Students

Another one of my favourite speaking activities for ESL students are board games. They’re an excellent way to review for a test, or to round out a unit.

It’s a speaking activity because students have to say the correct answer in response to the question in order to remain in the square. And, the other students have to listen carefully to make sure the answer is correct.

You can learn more about how I board games in my classes here:

#3: Dictogloss- A Classic ESL Activity

Dictogloss is a challening, yet easily adaptable ESL Speaking and Listening Activity that will quickly become one of your favourites. It can be used with just about any level, individually or in groups of up to four students.

Listening is necessary, but then you can choose to focus on either writing or speaking. It really is an extremely flexible ESL activity that your students will enjoy. The key is to adapt the text and your speaking speed to suit the level of your students.

For more details, check out:

Dictogloss ESL Speaking and Listening Activity

#4: Conversation Starters

Conversation starters for ESL students are a fun way to get the class started off on the right foot. They’re a great warm-up activity because they’ll get your students thinking, talking and enjoying using English.

If you have a smaller class, then you may want to consider doing it all together as a group. But, remember that your students should be doing most of the talking. After all, you’ve probably already quite good at English and it’s your students who actually need the practice.

Here are some of my favourite conversation starters that are perfect for getting your students speaking in English:

Top 10 ESL Conversation Starters for Adults

Top 10 ESL Discussion Starters for Kids

#5: ESL Trivia

501 Riddles and Trivia Questions: For Teachers of Kids (7-13)
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501 Riddles and Trivia Questions: For Teachers of Kids (7-13)
  • Jackie Bolen, Jennifer Booker Smith
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Paperback: 60 pages

If you want to level up your ESL teaching game, then you’ll need to get some ESL trivia in your life! You can use them to focus on listening by reading the questions, instead of posting them on the PowerPoint. Then, have your students tell you the answers to focus on speaking.

If you teach kids, you’ll need to check out this book on Amazon. It’s ideal for ESL classes because the language of the questions are very simple and even beginners can understand it. Plus, the questions are general in nature and not focused on the USA or the UK like many of the other questions you’ll find online.

501 Riddles and Trivia Questions


ESL Speaking and Listening Activities

#6: ESL Listening Lesson

If you want to focus on ESL speaking and listening, a great way to do this is through a listening lesson. Once you get the basics of it down with something like this ESL listening lesson plan template, then you can add in a bunch of other listening and speaking activities.

Check out how I expand this basic listening lesson plan into a full class that includes speaking activities as well:

ESL Listening: How to Teach It

#7: English Central Videos

English-CentralUsing videos in my classroom is one of my favourite ESL listening and speaking activities. While there are a ton of great resources on YouTube, you’ll have to wade through a ton of stuff to find exactly what you’re looking for.

That’s why I like using English Central. There are so many good ones and not all of the junk. Plus, they’re organized by level and topic so it’ll be easy for you to find what you’re looking for.

Saving time when lesson planning? Love it! And I’m sure that you do too, right?

I generally start the class by getting students talking with a partner about the topic of the video. For example, if it’s about habits, I’ll get students to talk with a partner about this question, “What are your healthy and unhealthy habits?” Then, we’ll watch the video and students will have to answer questions about it. Finally, I’ll have students do a longer speaking activity related to the topic.

Check out: How I Use English Central Videos in my Classroom

#8: Running Dictation

Running dictation is another classic ESL Activity. This one is particularly good because it uses all 4 skills-speaking, listening, reading and writing. It’s challenging, easily adaptable to just about any age or level. It also gets students up and out of their seats and helps you get some energy back into your classroom.

Try it out for yourself and I’m confident that it’ll soon become one of your favourite ESL listening and speaking games.

Check out: Running Dictation- A Classic ESL 4-Skills Activity

#9: Role-Plays for ESL Students

One of my favourite ways to finish off a unit for lower-level students is with a role-play. They’re fun, encourage a bit of creativity and can be easily adapted by adding, or removing the amount of mandatory text that students must use. You can also use them for just about any topic you can imagine!

If you ask your students, they’ll probably list “conversation” at what they want to work on most in your class. However, beginners often struggle with this. That’s why I like using ESL role plays so much. They’re a kind of bridge between free-talking and not talking at all!

Check out: How I Use ESL Role-Plays in my Classroom

#10: Infographic Presentations

If you have higher-level students and want to challenge them, try out this task-based learning activity. Students have to make an infographic presentation and then present it to the class. It involves all 4 skills and the results are always very interesting!

I thoroughly enjoy the class where students present their findings. The best part? The students are doing the hard work and the teacher can sit back and just enjoy watching what the students have done!

Check out: Infographic Presentation for ESL/EFL Students

Just a Minute ESL Warm-Up

If you’re looking for a quick warm-up activity that’ll help your students speak English fluently, then you’ll want to consider Just a Minute. Basically, students have to speak about a certain topic for one entire minute without stopping.

To make this into a listening activity, you can require the partner who is listening to ask 2-3 follow-up questions when the minute is up. Learn more about Just a Minute here:

Did you enjoy our Top 10 ESL Listening and Speaking Activities? We hope so! Please leave a comment below and tell us your favourite listening and speaking activity for ESL or EFL students.

Did you Like these Listening/Speaking Activities for Adults?

If you liked this list of fun things to do in your classes, then you’re going to love this book: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults.

The key to happy, engaged students who are improving their language skills is a variety of activities and games during your classes. It’s easier than ever to do that with this book.

The best part? It’s well-organized into sections: listening, speaking, warm-ups, review, 4-skills, etc. so you’ll be able to find what you need quickly and easily. It’s lesson planning made easy, guaranteed.

Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office. Or, the digital version on your phone for planning your ESL lessons on the go. You can read the digital copy on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app.

Where can I get it?

Check out the book for yourself today:


Have your Say about these ESOL Speaking and Listening Activities

What are your thoughts about these activities? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Also be sure to give these teaching ideas a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself find this useful teaching resource.

Last update on 2019-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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