This is an old lesson plan, but it’s never too late to share, right? 😊

One of the students I was teaching last year was a chess enthusiast, so here’s what I did:

I put together a text on the benefits of chess, based on information from two articles. I posted in this great Facebook group asking if anyone was willing to record themselves reading the text. Huge thanks to Gemma Archer for offering to help! I also created a multiple choice task. Oh, and some micro-dictations!

Here’s a suggested procedure:

  • Activate previous knowledge. What are the benefits of playing chess? Discuss.
  • Students listen once for gist. Did they hear any of the benefits they mentioned?
  • They listen again for detail/ multiple choice task.
  • They listen again and focus on language chunks. They take notes of word combinations they can use when talking about this topic.
  • Elicit the chunks the students noticed. Highlight meaning, form and pronunciation. Highlight stress patterns and any features of connected speech between the items.
  • Use micro-dictations to help them notice pronunciation of certain words/features of connected speech.
  • Delayed feedback on emergent language.
  • Homework: Give students the audio file and transcript for further listening practice. Ask s students to create a quizlet set to study the chunks from the lesson.
  • Alternatively, you can use it as a reading lesson. Use the text and multiple choice task and then focus on lexical chunks.

Useful chunks

raise a person’s IQ

increasingly important

decrease brain power

keep healthy and fit

requires fast thinking

on the fly

requires strategic and critical thinking

improves your memory

your opponent’s playing style

mental effort

stimulates deep concentration

experiencing different degrees of anxiety

Tips on how to run the micro-dictations:

Play track 1 and ask student to transcribe what they hear.

Draw attention to the word sedentary ( /ˈsedəntri/). Elicit students previous knowlegde, eg it can also be realised as:


Give students some words that end in -ory -ary and ask them to think of the two differnt flexiforms* ( military, mandatory, laboratory, elementary ).

Play track 2 and ask the student to transcribe what they hear. You can focus on catenation between suffered+a and do more practice with verbs in the past followed by words that start with a vowel.

Focus on physically. Draw attention to the fact that we don’t say /ˈfɪzɪkʌli/ but /ˈfɪzɪkli/. Provide a list of similar words and elicit the spoken form (automatically, aesthetically, etc)

Play track 3. Students transcribe what they hear. Draw attention to elision of schwa in diagonally. /daɪˈægənlɪ/. It’s useful for students to know they might hear it this way.

* flexiforms.

from my DELTA Listening BE


Audio files


micro-dictation 1 (as a sedentary brain)

micro-dictation 2 (or who have suffered a stroke or other physically debilitating accident)

micro-dictation 3 (diagonally forward motion)

Thank you for this wonderfully professional recording, Gemma! 😊👏✨

Sandy Millin has also written this great post on using micro-dictations

References and sources

An ELT Notebook: An ELT Glossary : Catenation / Liaison / Linking

Cauldwell, R. (2018). A syllabus for listening. Birmingham: speechinaction.

Health Benefits of Playing Chess –

10 Things Chess Does To Your Brain | Science Times

Tabby Cat Chess – Free photo on Pixabay