The listening focus questions are a form of a while listening activity. While listening activities guide students through comprehending a listening passage, usually starting with broad ideas (eg. what is the conversation about) eventually narrowing in on specific details that can help everyone understand the important points of the passage.
Reading for Students
As an ALT, you may be asked to read a passage from a textbook for students to listen to. You may notice some students decide this is the perfect time to take a nap. The listening focus questions give the students a reason to listen.
How to Use the Listening Focus Quesitons
- The HRT will probably tell the class "Ok, please listen to [your name] read the conversation between Mike and Yuki." Then they will ask you to read.
- Tell the class you are about to read. Ask them to listen carefully. Give them a very simple question they can answer by listening to your reading. (Example questions* are listed for every passage in the Sunshine textbooks.)
- Read the passage/dialog.
- Ask the question again and give the students 10 ~ 20 seconds to discuss their answer with their neighbor.
- Confirm the answer and repeat with a slightly more focused question.
Using this technique, the time students spend listening to you read will become a listening comprehension activity, rather than a language feature activity (where students are focused on grammar and pronunciation rather than really trying to understand what your talking about).
I recommend running this idea by the JTE before you try it - there shouldn't be surprises in a team teaching environment. After you've tried it in class, review how it went with the JTE to get feedback. Try it a few times so both you and the students get comfortable with it then assess again with JTE.