Sheila Thorn

Integrating Authentic Listening into the Language Classroom


Practical guidance on how to teach real-life listening

Integrating Authentic Listening into the Language Classroom identifies what the theory behind authentic listening is, and then outlines key strategies backed up with anecdotes and evidence from the field, before moving on to show the practical application of these strategies with concrete and down-to-earth examples and activities from the field of ELT.



Integrating Authentic Listening into the Language Classroom looks at the theory around the need to use authentic listening. It then covers the practical ways teachers can use authentic listening in their classes.

Historically, English language teachers have not been trained in how to effectively teach authentic listening. Consequently, they avoid using authentic recordings with their students. In addition, the scripted and graded recordings used to model new language (lexis and grammar) in coursebooks are very different from the spontaneous spoken English students encounter beyond the ELT classroom. We are currently doing our students a huge disservice in not training them to cope with authentic speech. This is what the author seeks to remedy in Integrating Authentic Listening into the Language Classroom.

Creating a methodology book like this, which leads the field in terms of providing the theory behind listening to spoken English in addition to practical guidance and useful examples, means readers will benefit from learning the theory behind using authentic listening and then understand the need to integrate authentic listening in their classrooms. It will equip readers with the knowledge and skills to use authentic recordings in the classroom. This will enable new and experienced teachers to give excellent foolproof listening lessons using authentic recordings. They can motivate their students, equipping them to cope with listening to spontaneous spoken English beyond the classroom.

The book contains 18 easy-to-digest chapters and aims to be accessible for both new and experienced teachers. It contains tried-and-tested decoding and comprehension activities that work in the ELT classroom. The examples and anecdotes given make the activities relatable to a wide range of teaching contexts. It also contains additional transcripts referred to in the main body of the book, a glossary of key terms, references and an index.

This title is part of the Teaching English series, which offers a mixture of methodology and practical ideas for teachers of English as a foreign language.


The book is designed for language teachers around the world who are looking for new ways to integrate listening into their classroom, and to enhance what they are doing with coursebooks, whether they are first or second/multiple language speaker teacher trainees, newly-qualified or experienced teachers and teacher trainers. Although the book contains English language teaching examples, it can help any language teacher. It will also be useful for teacher trainers.


Sheila Thorn is an experienced ELT teacher, teacher trainer, materials writer and examination writer with a special interest in authentic listening.  She has worked as a listening paper item writer for Cambridge ESOL (First, Advanced), Trinity (ISE) and Helbling (Austria and Germany – listening papers for 18 and 19-year-olds) since 2011.  She founded The Listening Business in 1998 and is the author of the Real Lives, Real Listening series (Collins) – a series of books featuring authentic recordings and listening training materials for students from elementary to advanced level.  Sheila regularly speaks at national and international conferences on various aspects of authentic listening training and testing and has written a number of significant articles in this field for Modern English Teacher, and other publications.


ISBN: 978-1-914010-45-3

Expected publication date: 17th December 2021



Part 1: Theory

  1. Exploring listening in the ELT classroom
  2. Common misconceptions and contentious issues
  3. A critique of the current approach to ‘teaching’ listening
  4. Myth versus reality
  5. Teaching listening: The challenges of connected speech
  6. The characteristics of formal public spoken English
  7. The characteristics of informal spontaneous spoken English
  8. L1 and L2 listening processes: Decoding challenges for L2 learners
  9. Meaning building challenges for L2 learners

Part 2: Practice

  1. Guiding principles behind the integrated approach
  2. Firm foundations: Teaching learners about listening
  3. Listening goals
  4. Practising listening using written comprehension tasks
  5. Practising meaning building with the teacher as a facilitator
  6. Practising decoding and increasing automaticity
  7. Further uses of authentic recordings
  8. Using International English recordings
  9. Rationale for using authentic recordings in high-stakes international examinations



There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Integrating Authentic Listening into the Language Classroom”

You may also like…