Listening is one of the four basic language skills that we teach in our classes but, in many ways, listening to our learners is just as important.

In his article published in the January 2016 issue Peter Zoeftig argues that improving the way that we listen to what our learners say will enable us to gain deeper insights into their thought processes, giving us a clearer vision of their progress and their immediate needs, and indicating the direction in which our instruction should go.

Mandana Arfa-Kaboodvand spent some time listening to the experiences of teenagers and young adults who had started learning English at a very early age. She wanted to find out from the students’ point of view how useful early learning is and what impact it had on their achievements and attitudes to English.

Barbara Gesicka listened to her students’ opinions on how writing was taught in her school, and then revolutionised her approach by setting up a writing club. The opportunity to share their writing online and comment on each other’s work transformed the students’ attitudes and made them enthusiastic writers. 

David Dodgson also made his students the starting point for his teaching, responding to their interest in video games by using these in class and setting up a club where students teach each other (and the teacher!) how to play popular games.

Edwina Ingrouille learnt lessons about being a student by becoming one herself. She joined a Greek course and discovered that understanding the teacher’s instructions can be the most challenging aspect of being in a language class.

The Scrapbook in this issue is on the theme of listening, and there is a downloadable worksheet to use with your students about being a good listener.