In our last post, we talked a bit about assessing listening comprehension through Extempore, specifically for beginner or intermediate language learners. Let's talk now about our more advanced language learners and how we can assess their progress with listening comprehension.
Naturally, what we recommended last time for beginning students works equally well for our higher-level students. The first step is to provide students a target-language prompt and, because we're focusing mainly on the aural piece of the learning process, we'll only ask our students to respond with a short either-or response (true vs. false, yes vs. no, past vs. present, subjunctive vs. indicative, etc.) or a discrete vocabulary item or verb form. The primary difference, though, is that you can make the prompt a bit more elaborate, complex, faster, or generally more native-like in whichever way suits your classroom. Students will respond in the appropriate way and you can provide feedback as needed.
Here are some specific classroom ideas that we think would work great on Extempore!
- Historical trivia: Create a series of prompts that serve as trivia questions, while simultaneously tying in the unit vocabulary or grammar. For instance, if you're studying the target language's past tense(s) or perhaps the present perfect, create prompts using that grammar piece to ask basic questions about famous people or places, such as "Who first walked on the moon?" or "This person has been President for the past 8 years". (Remember--the goal isn't to stump the students, so the answer to the questions should be pretty obvious!)
- Speaking extension: At the end of your activity, ask your students to quiz you by preparing 3 or 4 additional trivia questions. If the students don't mind, play these recordings back in class the following day for extra in-class practice.
- Target-language cultural knowledge: Perhaps you and your students have been studying various cultural phenomena in your classroom. After you've studied the material in class, a good way to test their cultural competence would be to create a listening comprehension "quiz" on Extempore. Students will listen to your spoken prompts and, ideally, they can respond simply with a short word or phrase that demonstrates that they've understood your question.
- Speaking extension: Ask students to state which cultural topic was most interesting to them and why.
- Descriptions of people or places: If your class is studying more complex or nuanced vocabulary relating to physical characteristics or personality traits, test their listening comprehension by creating an audio prompt on Extempore in which you describe either famous people or even individual students in the class. Then students simply listen and identify the name of the individual being described. This could work just as well for geographical locations, such as well-known campus or school locales or even culturally appropriate destinations that you've mentioned in class. These activities are easy and fun to do!
- Speaking extension: Naturally, to expand this activity to allow for student output, ask each student to record a sample description of their own. You could even play back these recordings in class the next day to further emphasize listening!
- Predictions for the future: It's likely that your advanced students have learned how to use the future tense or other grammatical elements (e.g. combining multiple clauses) to make predictions for the future. Invent some of your own via audio prompts on Extempore. Then ask the students to state whether they agree with your predictions.
- Speaking extension: To add a speaking component, ask your students to state why they agree or disagree. Or they may simply reply with a handful of predictions of their own.
- "If I were a millionaire...": Maybe your advanced learners have been using grammar and vocabulary to talk about hypothetical situations. Prepare a list of prompts in which you say what you would do if you were a millionaire or a famous celebrity. Students can simply state whether they would do those activities, too.
- Speaking extension: Ask students to record a few short responses in which they too state what they would do. You'd be surprised by what they come up with!
As we all know, listening comprehension is an essential skill in the language learning process. Extempore can help you facilitate this within the classroom and beyond!