Unit 3: Active Listening: Communicating in Public Situations


Effective oral communication includes the ability to understand a message and also respond to it appropriately, in both private and public contexts. At higher secondary level and beyond, students are expected to attend co-curricular sessions involving lectures, speeches, debates and public announcements. For students to be able to comprehend English discourse (i.e., longer chunks of speech on a particular topic), they need to take part in occasions and events involving public speaking.

At the JSS level, students have frequent opportunities to listen to speeches in English. In fact, a formal speech is one of the most common forms of English discourse that students are exposed to. Some schools have morning assembly speeches, headteacher’s speeches on various occasions, speeches by important visitors to the school and so on. As a JSS English teacher, however, you will probably agree that students rarely have the patience for or interest in listening to a lecture for a long period. Sometimes the topic does not interest them; at other times they may find it difficult to understand what is being said. Some students find it difficult to process information over a longer period, while others have poor comprehension skills.

This unit contains three activities that you can use to develop your students’ skills in listening effectively to longer stretches of spoken English. The first two activities deal with academic English (lecture and debate) and the third gives students practice in understanding public announcements.

Unit outcomes

Upon completion of this unit you will be able to teach effective listening by:


  • having students interpret information from a public lecture,

  • helping students understand the main ideas of a debate, and

  • exposing students to public announcements.

Case studies

Case study 1

Case study 1

Mrs Julie Obi is an English teacher in a JSS and is in charge of Clubs and Societies. Mrs Obi was recently asked to prepare her students for an inter-school debating competition. In the course of her preparation, she noted that her students could not respond to the points raised by their opponents. She observed that this inability was because of poor listening skills.

Mrs Obi therefore decided to help her students develop their listening comprehension skills. In her next few classes, she devised a few language games that required her students to listen and respond to questions posed by the other groups. She awarded marks to the group that responded correctly, to make the activity more interesting. At the end of each game, she organised a feedback session in which students were encouraged to describe why they had won or lost a particular game. She prompted them to say which parts they did not understand, and whether it was because the teacher had used unfamiliar words or read very fast, or they could not understand instructions easily. By discussing their problems in listening, Mrs Obi managed to make them conscious and aware of the need to listen more carefully and with focus. At the end of several rounds of such classes, she realised that the students’ listening skills had improved dramatically. This encouraged her to organise club activities such as debates, which her students now participated in with greater enthusiasm.

Points to ponder

  1. Do your students face similar problems in understanding instructions or taking part in activities that involve listening and speaking in English? Are the causes similar to those that Mrs Obi identified?

  2. What kinds of texts do your students listen to in English apart from your explanations or question-answer sessions in the class?

Case study 2

Case study 2

Mr Amadu is an English teacher. On 1 October 2007, Nigerians were anxious to listen to the president’s National Day broadcast. The Amadus watched the telecast intently. No one spoke a word, because they wanted to listen carefully to what the president was saying. Even the four children were silent throughout the 25-minute broadcast.

At the end of the broadcast, Mrs Amadu and the children turned to Mr Amadu and asked, “What did the president say he will do?” Mr Amadu quickly realised that although the entire family had watched the television broadcast, they had not understood any of the information.

This experience set Mr Amadu thinking. He wondered whether his students would have understood the telecast. Luckily, he had recorded the president’s speech, and so he decided to take it to class. He played the video in class, but at the end of the telecast, none of his students could say precisely what the speech was all about. Mr Amadu resolved to do something to enable his family and students to get information from radio and television broadcasts in English.

He also realised that in order to get his students to pay attention to what they were listening to, he needed interesting resource materials. He decided to design activities that would enable his students to identify facts and opinions, to differentiate between them and determine speakers’ attitudes.

Points to ponder

  1. Do you use radio and TV broadcasts as listening resources in your classroom? What problems do you encounter during these sessions? If you have not used them yet, but would like to begin, how do you think these would help your students?

  2. Why do you think students find it difficult to understand the English being spoken on the radio or TV? How can we encourage them to listen to such programmes more to develop their aural English skills?


Activity 1: Following a lecture

Activity 1

As discussed in the unit introduction, many JSS students have problems with processing verbal information in longer stretches because we give students relatively little focused practice in processing such information. It is one thing to follow simple instructions or the teacher’s directions in the class, but another thing to understand and sustain interest in longer stretches of language delivered on a topic, which we refer to as a speech or a lecture.

Through this activity, you will be able to have your students practise following a speech by predicting the content, and having them look for the main ideas, supporting details and illustrations while they listen. To prepare them for the activity, you can first let them practise with shorter pieces of oral information.

Prepare a four-paragraph lecture on a familiar topic or have your students listen to the passage in Resource 1a, and write a one-line summary for each paragraph. Cut the summaries into four pieces of paper (one set for each pair), or write them, out of order, on the board after you have given your instructions. Tell the students that they will listen to a lecture on an undisclosed topic. Give them the title of the lecture, and have a short prediction exercise (see Resource 1b for the exercises) on what they expect to hear in the lecture. This will prepare them to listen with focus, and also motivate them to listen actively. Put the students in pairs, and distribute the sets of paper (each set containing the four pieces of the summary) to each pair. The students’ task is to listen to the lecture (either on audiotape or spoken by you) and arrange the summaries in the correct order. Also ask them to guess the main idea. Follow this with a class discussion on the importance of predicting the content of a lecture from the title, listening for main ideas, summarising the lecture for correct comprehension and later recall.

For the main activity, you can have students listen to a speech actively by practising some of the strategies used above. See Resource 2a for a sample passage and Resource 2b for exercises on developing focused listening skills. Remember to have the students listen to the speech twice, making them do the activities the first time they listen, and reviewing their work while they listen for a second time.

Have the students exchange their notebooks for peer correction. Round up the activity with a class discussion on the strategies they should use for focused listening, such as:

  • thinking about the topic before listening,

  • looking for the main idea/ideas,

  • noting subordinate points and supporting details,

  • looking out for illustrations and examples to understand the speaker’s point, and

  • assessing the speaker’s attitude (using the strategies already practised in Unit 2 above).

Activity 2: Following a debate

Activity 2

A popular co-curricular activity at the JSS level and beyond is debate. You may have class debates on issues given in textbooks, or arrange competitive debates as part of the school’s inter- or intra-curricular activities. Debates are interesting to listen to as they give us two sides of an argument. A formal debate has one or more judges, a scorekeeper, a timekeeper and several members in each team. The judges listen to one speaker from each team in turns, and award points according to the quality of the arguments and the ability to counter the opponent’s points.

At the JSS level, students need to learn how to participate actively in debates, both as spectators and competitors. In this activity, you will be able to use strategies to make your students aware of how they can best follow the arguments in a debate.

As a preparatory activity, divide the class into six groups and give them the topic Watching television is good for students. Three of the groups should think of at least two points in favour of the topic, and the other three should prepare at least two points against the topic. In turns, one representative from each group should come up to the front of the class and share their views. The rest of the class should note down what each speaker says. After they have listened to all six speakers and collected their points, the class should decide which speaker made the strongest argument. The group whose speaker gets the most votes from the class is declared the best.

After this, have a discussion to bring to the students’ notice how they had to listen carefully to each side of the debate in order to rank the speaker. Ask the students to recollect what they liked about the best speaker’s presentation. As listeners, the class should have noticed the following strategies used by the speakers:

  • A clear and audible voice and good pace of speaking — neither too fast nor too slow.

  • Point-by-point expression of ideas rather than long explanations.

  • Use of examples to substantiate each argument.

  • Use of short sentences to ensure that listeners can easily understand the point being made.

  • Highlighting of each point through introductory expressions such as The main point is..., What I feel is..., However, ..., In today’s world..., My last point is ...., For example,..., In conclusion, I would like to say that..., To sum up...., etc.

Now tell the students that they will listen to a debate (see Resource 3a) and judge the winner. As they listen, they will have to note down the important points of the arguments on a worksheet (Resource 3b). You can use the points listed in Resource 3c — Preparing a Debate to introduce to the students the concept of a debate.

Activity 3: Understanding public announcements: At a railway station

Activity 3

Apart from academic uses of English such as lectures and debates, JSS students also need exposure to the kind of English used for public purposes, such as announcements. One example of a public situation is the railway station. In a railway station, important announcements about train arrivals and departures are usually made in more than one language. In most provinces and countries, English is one of the languages used.

In this activity, you will be able to let your students listen to railway announcements. This is intended to give them practice in listening for specific information, which is an important sub-skill of listening. For the activity, you will have to use examples of actual announcements and give the students some tasks based on them.

Before the activity, have a general class discussion on whether students have travelled by train, or have visited a railway station to collect visitors or see people off. Let them brainstorm on the things they have seen in a railway station, the noises they heard and the general feel of a railway station. Steer the discussion to information noticeboards and the important announcements made.

Now play (or read out) the examples of announcements given in Resource 4a, and ask the students to guess which ones are from a railway station, an airport, a bus terminus, a theatre and a museum. Have a short discussion about which words in the announcements helped them decide.

Then give the students the worksheet in Resource 4c and ask them to work in pairs to complete the given announcements by listening to the recording in Resource 4b. Have each pair discuss their answers, and then exchange their worksheets with another pair to find out whether they got the information correct. Did they decide that all the announcements were from the railway station? If they did, why?

The discussion after this activity should prompt the students to mention the important types of information we hear at a railway station, such as train names, timings, important words such as arrive, depart, passengers, platform and so on.

To give the students more practice, you can use similar activities with announcements or even ask them to make their own announcements and read them out in the class for their classmates to predict the information and understand the important points.

Unit summary


This unit tried to give your students exposure to English as spoken in the public domain. The first two activities were designed to make them practise listening to longer stretches of public speaking such as a lecture and a debate, while the third one aimed at developing their skills of understanding public announcements. The unit activities should help you to use similar strategies to engage your students in authentic listening tasks taken from the real world. This will prepare them to listen with focus when they leave the classroom, and also aid their comprehension skills.



  • Which of the activities were easy for you as a teacher to use?

  • What made them easy to use?

  • Do you think your students will enjoy activities from real life like the public announcements?

  • How can you give them more practice?


Resource 1a: Travelling fast (transcript)

Resource 1a

Have you ever travelled outside your province? What is your favourite mode of transport? I have travelled to many cities both within the country and outside, both by road and by air. I have had different experiences, both good and bad. I have compared these two means of transport and have concluded that air transport is better, faster and safer, but costlier.

I have travelled from Abuja to Lagos both by car and on an airplane and I must tell you how long it takes by car. The fastest car I have ever travelled by took us seven hours of non-stop driving. We left Abuja at six o’clock in the morning before it got warm, and reached Lagos at one o’clock in the afternoon. The journey was pleasant enough, but at the end of it we were hot, tired and hungry. Last year, I had to visit Lagos again on business. I boarded the plane at ten o’clock in the morning, and it took only 55 minutes to reach Lagos by air. I had had time to have my breakfast, work on my computer during the flight and reach Lagos in time for my meeting. Even better, I caught a late flight out of Lagos, and was back home in Abuja in time for dinner with my family!

Some people say that air travel is dangerous, and they would prefer to be safe and late, rather than fast and sorry. But it is on record that since January 2009, there has not been any incident of air disaster in the aviation industry in Nigeria. However, it is a known fact that several accidents occur on our roads daily with varying degrees of fatality. The financial loss in these road accidents is also very alarming. It is true that it costs much more to travel by air than by road. The cheapest airline charges not less than N16,000 from Abuja to Lagos while the most expensive passenger cars or luxurious buses charge not more than N5,000. However, if you consider financial benefit in terms of time saved, no amount of money is great enough. What I spent on air travel to Lagos was very little compared to the amount of business I won by talking to various clients in the meetings I attended there.

Even if you are not travelling on business, I think the amount of money you spend on air travel is well spent. If, like me, you do not have relatives to stay with in Lagos, and you are travelling by car, you would have to check into a hotel for the night, and travel back the next day. Doesn’t this cost a lot of money? If you flew to Lagos on an airplane, you would be able to return home the same day after your work is over, and still have time to spend with your family. Can any amount of money compensate for that? It is because of this that I believe that travelling by air is far more sensible than travelling by road.



Resource file

See in the enclosed DVD an audio recording of the activity:

  • Scripts\Module1\Unit3\Activity1\Resource1a\Audio\Travelling_Fast.mp3

Resource 1b: Travelling fast (exercises)

Resource 1b

  1. You are going to hear Mrs Abdul of Abuja speak on a topic she calls Travelling Fast. What do you think she will tell us in her lecture? Note down two things that you think she will talk about. After you hear the lecture, read what you had written. Did you guess correctly?

  2. The four sentences below sum up what Mrs Abdul says in her lecture. They are numbered i–iv. Listen to the lecture carefully, and, working with a friend, put the sentence summaries in the correct order according to what Mrs Abdul talked about first, what she said next and so on.

    1. The journey from Abuja to Lagos by air took only 55 minutes whereas the same journey completed non-stop by a fast car took seven hours.

    2. In the long run, the cost of travelling by air is less than road travel because we spend more money on overnight stay in hotels, and are not able to be with our families at night.

    3. When compared to travelling by road, air travel is better, faster and safer, but costlier.

    4. Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that travelling by air is safer than travelling by road in terms of fatal accidents, and less costly.

Resource 2a: Graduation Day speech (transcript)

Resource 2a

My dear students, may I start by congratulating you on your successful completion of Junior Secondary School education in Perfect Memorial Secondary School. I congratulate you first on your discipline and good conduct. You all know our commitment to ensure discipline and good conduct in line with our motto Light of the World. We have had to regrettably send away many students who did not follow our rules. That you are graduating today shows that you have behaved well and are ready to take on the world.

Secondly, I congratulate you because you are blessed with a great legacy. Think about our past students, for example. All students who have successfully graduated from this school have not only succeeded in life, but have become well known and responsible members of society. Amongst our old boys and girls, we have had three state governors, two ministers, fifteen reverends and countless successful businessmen and women, as well as top military officers and civil servants.

I am particularly grateful to God because I know you too will make it to the top in whatever endeavour you choose to follow. All you need to do is remember everything we taught you, everything you saw us do and everything we believe in and cherish. I join your parents in sharing the joy of your success and the hope you have for the future.

May God Almighty bless you as you step out into society, and bring you every success in life.



Resource file

See in the enclosed DVD an audio recording of the activity:

  • Scripts\Module1\Unit3\Activity1\Resource2a\Audio\Graduation_Day_Speech.mp3

Resource 2b: Graduation Day speech (worksheet)

Resource 2b

  1. You are going to listen to your school principal’s graduation speech. Tick () which of the following things you think the principal will mention in his speech:



Your grades                               




Complaints to parents                 




Your good behaviour                   




Previous successful students       




The school’s policies and efforts   




God’s blessings                             


  1. Read the following summaries before you listen to the speech. Then listen to the speech carefully. Discuss with a friend which summary gives us the main idea of the speech. Which words or sentences helped you to decide on the correct summary?

    1. In this speech, the principal of Perfect Memorial Secondary School congratulates his students on their successful completion of Junior Secondary School education. He talks about the school’s commitment to discipline and good conduct and its motto, Light of the World. The principal recalls earlier students and mentions their successful careers as responsible members of society. He reminds the students to follow the good values they learned at school, and prays to God to bring them success in life.

    2. In this speech, the principal of Perfect Memorial Secondary School congratulates his students on coming to the school with their parents. He tells the parents of their children’s discipline and good conduct. He tells the students to study well for the Junior Secondary School examinations. He warns them that they will be sent away if they perform poorly in the exams.

    3. In this speech, the principal of Perfect Memorial Secondary School congratulates his students on their successful completion of Junior Secondary School education. He talks about the school’s commitment to discipline and good conduct and its motto, Light of the World. The principal recalls earlier students and mentions their successful careers as responsible members of society. He reminds the students to follow the good values they learned at school, and prays to God to bring them success in life.

    4. In this speech, the principal of Perfect Memorial Secondary School congratulates his students on coming to the school with their parents. He tells the parents of their children’s discipline and good conduct. He tells the students to study well for the Junior Secondary School examinations. He warns them that they will be sent away if they perform poorly in the exams.

  2. What example does the principal give to show how the students will benefit from the things they learned in school?

    1. Examples of good conduct by teachers of the school such as the Moral Science teacher, the Maths teacher and the Geography teacher.

    2. Examples of successful past students who have become governors, ministers, civil servants, etc.

    3. Examples from the principal’s own life, such as being a good student, performing well at college, getting the job of principal and so on.

    4. Examples of religious beliefs such as discipline, good conduct, truthfulness, light of the world and punishment.

  3. Listen to the speech attentively once more. What do you think of the principal’s attitude or feelings towards the students? Sit in groups of four and discuss with your group whether you think the principal sounded like a kind and encouraging man or an unpleasant and discouraging man. Share with the other groups why you felt so.

Resource 3a: Debate: Teachers are more important than doctors (transcript)

Resource 3a

Moderator: Welcome everyone. Today the topic of our debate is Teachers are more important than doctors. We have two excellent teams competing for the winner’s trophy: St. Anthony’s School, Durban, and Lagos Secondary School, Lagos. Each team has three speakers, and we will begin with the first speaker from the team in favour of the motion, St. Anthony’s School. Our honourable judge for today’s debate needs no introduction: we all know Father J.C. Thomas, Principal of National Public School, Lagos.

Let us begin now by inviting the first speaker to the dais. May I remind all participants to keep to the time of five minutes per speaker. Our timekeeper for today, Mr Obi, will show you a ONE-MINUTE warning card, and ring his bell at the end of five minutes. Please do not overstep your allotted time.

Speaker 1: Good morning, everyone. The topic of today’s debate is Teachers are more important than doctors, and I shall be speaking in favour of the motion. Let me begin by asking you all a simple question: after our parents, who is the person who helps us shape our future? Undoubtedly our teacher. Right after we learn to speak and walk, our teacher holds our hand and guides us through life. She teaches us not only how to read and write, she gives us lessons in good manners, respect for our elders, and teaches us discipline. Doctors are certainly important in our life, but if there were no teachers, there would be no doctors either. So I believe teachers are more important than doctors. Thank you.

Speaker 2: Good morning, respected teachers and my friends! My esteemed friend from St Anthony’s has raised a very important point in her speech: who is the person who helps shape our future? I would like to begin my argument by answering this important question. I believe no person can be more important for our future than our doctor. As we all know, health is wealth, and we cannot think of any future if we do not have good health. We certainly love and respect our teachers, but when it is a matter of life and death, we would hardly think of our Maths, Geography or English teacher, for example, would we?

The first person who will come to our mind is none other than our doctor! So I believe doctors are more important than teachers. Thank you.

Speaker 3: Respected audience, I would like to thank my friend from Lagos Secondary School for reminding us of the importance of doctors in our lives. However, I would like you all to ponder over the important point touched upon by my team member in her speech: if there were no teachers, where would the doctors come from? For instance, a doctor is not made in heaven: anyone who chooses medicine as a career has to learn how to heal people and get a proper licence after passing examinations. Would any one of us put our lives in the hands of someone who claims to know how to heal us, but does not have a degree?

Timekeeper: Young man, you have one minute to wind up, please.

Speaker 3: Thank you, Sir. I will just take a few more seconds to conclude. The point I was trying to make is this: anyone with practical knowledge of a subject can teach others. What I mean is that teachers need a degree and a licence to teach as much as doctors, but we also respect and follow people who teach us things from practical experience. If by teacher we mean someone who transfers their knowledge and experience to others, I think teachers are the most important part of our lives. Thank you.

Speaker 4: My dear friends, so far we have been listening to very passionate arguments in favour of teachers over doctors. Let me summarise what my friends from the opposite team have argued so far. In their understanding, a teacher is more important than a doctor because a teacher takes over the role of a parent when we go to school. Also, anybody with some knowledge and experience can be a teacher; unlike a doctor, one does not need a formal degree to be a teacher. Frankly, I am amazed at the casual attitude to teaching and learning taken by my esteemed friends supporting the motion. For example, would our parents engage as our Maths teacher any person from the street who claims to have knowledge and experience of doing mathematical calculations? If teaching is such a noble duty, would we not wish to place ourselves in the care of someone who is proved to have the necessary skills?

Timekeeper: One minute, please!

Speaker 4: Thank you, Sir. My conclusion is: our lives are more important than any Maths or Geography or Science we learn; and if our mental and physical health is important for us to be able to learn anything from a teacher, we must first place ourselves in the hands of a competent doctor. Only then can we lead a fruitful life. Thank you.

Speaker 5: Good morning, everyone. I have been listening carefully to all the noble arguments made by my friends opposing the motion, and I can only feel sorry for their one-sided vision. I do not want to take away the importance of a doctor in our lives, but I agree with my team members that a doctor will exist only if a teacher does. The opposite can never hold true. If, as my opposite team members argue, we can only trust our lives with competent people, let me remind them — how do we judge their competence? In a nutshell, we need a teacher to make a competent doctor, not vice versa. It is a teacher who can teach a person the skills necessary to become a doctor, and it is again a teacher who will judge a doctor’s competence in the licensing examination. I think this sums up the arguments for our team. I conclude with a well-known saying: Life is our teacher, and teachers are our life. Thank you.

Speaker 6: My dear friends, I am the last speaker for our team, and I would like to put together the main arguments for our team, as well as my own point of view. As my team members reminded you, a doctor is the one person responsible for our physical and mental well-being. For example, people who suffer from mental illnesses do not have the faculty to process knowledge like other human beings. So even if we bring to them the best teacher in the world, they will learn nothing. In the same way, when we suffer from some ailment or disease of the body, even the kindest and wisest words from a teacher will not heal us. I agree that a doctor learns from a teacher, but should we not realise that even the people who teach someone to be a doctor have to be doctors themselves? I think no matter how we argue the point, the fact remains that a doctor is next only to God in our lives, and in any crisis, our parents will turn to the doctor, not a teacher, to save our life. In short, a doctor is more important than a teacher. Thank you.

Moderator: We have run out of our allotted time, so this was the last speech from any team. On behalf of the organisers, I thank the participating teams for their wonderful presentations, and wish both teams good luck. Thank you, audience, for being such interested listeners.

I now request our honourable judge to declare the results of this debate and give his concluding remarks.

Judge: Thank you, my dear friends. I must admit this was one of the best debates I have ever judged. The speakers from both teams had strong arguments, and illustrated their points with good examples. I also admire their timekeeping, because of which we have been able to finish in time.

Now, let me announce today’s winning team: and I repeat, it was a very difficult decision for me, as both teams were very convincing in their own arguments. However, one team managed to counter the opposite team’s points with more logic, and to this team goes today’s trophy. Ladies and gentlemen, the winning team — St. Anthony’s School, Durban. Congratulations, young friends. You have done very well! And my dear young friends from Lagos Secondary School — congratulations to you too! You missed the prize by just a whisker. Best of luck for your future! Good day.

Moderator: Thank you, Father Thomas, and congratulations to all the participants! I also thank our timekeeper, Mr Obi, for doing an excellent job, and the audience for their encouragement. This brings us to the end of today’s function. Have a great day!



Resource files

See in the enclosed DVD an audio recording of the activity:

  • Scripts\Module1\Unit3\Activity2\Resource3a\Audio\Debate.mp3

Resource 3b: Debate: Teachers are more important than doctors (worksheet)

Resource 3b

Look at the video of/listen to the debate between St. Anthony’s School and Lagos Secondary School on the topic Teachers are more important than doctors. Imagine you are the judge of the competition. Who, according to you, has won? As you listen, fill in the worksheet with your answers. Then discuss the debate with a partner and decide on the winners. Listen to the recording once again and cross-check your notes. How well did you listen? How many classmates chose the same winner as you did?

  1. The topic of the debate is ___________________________.

  2. The participating teams are ____________ and _______________.

  3. The speakers for the motion are from ____________ School, and the team opposing the motion is from _________ School.

  4. The first speaker’s main point is ______________________.

  5. The second speaker, who is from the team against the motion, argues that health ___________________. She adds that in a matter of life and death, we do not rely on our ___________, ____________ or _____________ teacher.

  6. Speaker 3 talks about the need for a doctor to pass _____________ and have a proper __________ He defines a teacher as someone who transfers their __________________________________________.

  7. Speaker 4 is amazed at the opposite team’s __________________ attitude to teaching. His argument is that we need ______________ people to become teachers.

  8. Speaker 5 sums up the opposite team’s arguments, which she calls a ______________ vision. She picks up the argument about competent teachers by saying that it is a ___________ who judges the competence of a ______________ in the licensing exam.

  9. The last speaker argues that even the people who ________________ have to be ____________ themselves.

  10. In your opinion, the winning team is ______________________.

  11. The reasons why they have won are: _________________________ ________________________________________________________.

Resource 3c: Debate: Preparing a debate (worksheet)

Resource 3c

  1. Let your students know that in a debate people argue opposite sides of a given topic. Each person or team tries to convince the listeners and the judge that their point of view is the correct one.

  2. The responsibility of each team is to raise as many points as possible to support their view while at the same time countering as many of the points raised by the other person or team as possible.

  3. To be able to effectively counter the opponent’s point, the speaker must not only listen carefully to what the opponent says directly, but also work out what the other team member is suggesting indirectly.

  4. The judges will award marks to a team based on the points raised as well as the opponent’s points countered.

  5. Whether one is supporting or opposing a motion, it is important to think of all possible arguments beforehand and to enumerate them.

  6. It is equally important to think of counter-arguments that the opposite team will raise, and to be ready with answers or arguments for them.

  7. Each team should note all the points mentioned as the opposite team members speak, and counter these effectively when their own turn comes.

  8. To convince the judge and audience of their arguments, the speaker should use examples, illustrations and evidence for each point.

  9. The speaker should use introductory phrases for each point, so that the audience can easily follow the argument. Some such phrases are The main point is..., What I feel is..., However, ..., In today’s world..., My last point is ...., For example,..., In conclusion, I would like to say that..., To sum up...., etc.

Resource 4a: Public announcements (transcript)

Resource 4a

  1. An announcement for passengers departing for Addis Ababa: the Superfast Express has arrived at Platform 1. Please board and keep your tickets ready for checking. Thank you. Passengers travelling to Addis Ababa by the Superfast Express are requested to board at Platform No. 1 and keep their tickets ready for the Checking Officer. Thank you.

  2. Your attention please: Spice Jet flight number SG 2405 from Cape Town has just landed at Runway 101. I repeat, Spice Jet’s flight SG 2405 from Cape Town has just arrived at Runway 101.

  3. Your attention please: the Passenger Express from Lagos, which is running ten minutes behind schedule, will arrive at Platform number 6 at 1100 hours. (Twice)

  4. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. The play is about to begin, and may I request the audience to switch off their mobile phones or keep them in silent mode throughout the duration of the performance. Thank you.

  5. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to The Globe. Tonight we will bring you Ibsen’s famous play A Doll’s House. I request all our guests to take their seats so that we can begin on time. Ladies and gentlemen, we present Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

  6. Your attention please: the intercity bus shuttle from Abuja to Lagos has been delayed, and will now leave the terminus at 9:00 a.m. We regret the inconvenience and request our passengers travelling to Lagos to wait in the passenger lounge until our next announcement. Thank you.

  7. Kingfisher Airlines announces the departure of its flight IT 5560 to Cairo. Passengers are requested to proceed for security check. I repeat, passengers travelling on Kingfisher airlines flight IT 5560 to Cairo are requested to proceed for security check, thank you.

  8. Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you the first cannon gunner built in our country: The Victoria, dating back to 1563. Let me add that this rare and valuable addition to our museum was discovered only last year by the famous archaeologist Professor Nelson Crooks of the University of Durban.

  9. Passengers arriving on National Airways flight AT 609 from London are requested to proceed to Immigration in Lounge 21. I repeat, passengers who have arrived on flight AT 609 are requested to proceed to the Immigration counters in Lounge 21, please. Thank you.

  10. Your attention please: the visiting hours for this weekend have been extended for an hour in the evening to enable our guests from the Caribbean nations to enjoy our rich collection of paintings and sculptures. Thank you. I repeat: the museum authorities have announced a special extension of one hour for our visitors from the Caribbean this weekend. Thank you.



Resource file

See in the enclosed DVD an audio recording of the activity:

  • Scripts\Module1\Unit3\Activity3\Resource4a\Public_Announcements.mp3

Resource 4b: Public announcements: Predicting information (transcript)

Resource 4b

  1. Passengers travelling to London via Paris are requested to board The Tunnel Express immediately.

  2. The Intercity Express from New Delhi has just arrived at Platform 2.

  3. We regret to inform you that Western Railways has cancelled their last train to Nairobi because of heavy fog.

  4. An important announcement: Platform 6 has been temporarily closed for repairs, and the Midland passenger train will now leave from Platform 5b.

  5. Your attention, please. Passengers departing from Platform 4 are requested to stay away from the main doors.



Resource file

See in the enclosed DVD an audio recording of the activity:

  • Scripts\Module1\Unit3\Activity3\Resource4b\Audio\Predicting_Information_In_Public_Announcements.mp3

Resource 4c: Public announcements (worksheet)

Resource 4c

The bubbles below all contain parts of public announcements. Can you complete the announcements by filling in the bubbles? Discuss with a partner which words would fit the announcements. After you have completed the worksheet, listen to the recording. Did you fill in the correct words?


Teacher question and answer



Question: Can I use radio and TV speeches and announcements to help students practise listening in public situations? I do not have easy access to audiotapes and video players.

Answer: Radio and TV are very useful and productive resources for teaching listening skills. You can use them effectively, but you must be able to anticipate what your students will hear and prepare exercises accordingly. Since you do not get an opportunity to listen to the same broadcast or telecast twice, you must also be confident that you get all the answers correct to be able to check your students’ responses.