Getting teens to listen, and write, in English

I very much liked one of the many suggestions Usoa Sol made in her talk, Listen up! Getting teens to listen in English, given at the IH Barcelona ELT Conference — getting kids to write emails from the protagonists of the song.

Usoa suggested Dido's Thank You, though I wonder if it's got a strong enough storyline and whether or not it tells us enough that we can interpret about the characters. Perhaps White Flag might work better, partly because you've got a YouTube videoclip there that appears to add something to the story.

I'm showing my age here, I guess, but one I'd really go for would be Springsteen's Johnny 99 (video above), which has a more powerful, more obvious story in it, I think.

Neat idea — and so much better and richer than just another gap-filled song. You could then get your teens to respond to each other's mails…

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  1. We should popularise the term "watching comprehension" instead of the boring old "listening comprehension".

    Especially with teens, it's so much better to be able to watch videos of songs, rather than just listen to them!

  2. I like Tom's suggestion. I'll be using "watching comprehension" from now on 🙂

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