Activities for People-oriented German Listening
1. Watching German-language Interviews
Best for: introverts, thinking and feeling types
Interviews provide the perfect chance for observing natural conversations between people. The best part is, you do not actually have to leave the comfort of your home to watch them. There are plenty of online videos where you can see famous and interesting people talk about their lives.
This form of listening practice is all about understanding the interviewee (the person answering the interview questions) as they talk in German.
This exercise is ideal for introverts since you can complete it alone. Thinking types will focus on the thinking process and the arguments given by the interviewee. Feeling types will consider the motivations and emotions underneath the interviewee’s speech.
Once you finish listening to an interview, summarize it in five lines to test how well you understood the conversation.
Start with an introduction, then write the major points and finally finish the summary by listing what you learned from it.
2. Role Playing German Conversations
Best for: extroverts and feeling types
Role playing involves changing your behavior and way of speaking according to a role you are given. It is a great way to prepare for German-language situations so you can handle them in real life.
For example, has a German teacher ever asked you to pretend to order dinner at a restaurant? This is a common role play to help German learners dine out in German-speaking countries.
Role playing is great for extroverts because they have fun learning with people and exploring different social roles. Feeling types will also appreciate how this exercise forces you to focus on attitudes, tone and emotions.
Recommended role play instructions:
Select a scenario: A scenario is the description of the situation, the characters, their roles and the cause of their conflict or disagreement. You can make up a scenario or you can select one from this worksheet or this assignment.
Select characters: You need to have at least two people to do a role play. Depending on the situation, you might need more people. It is best to check the number of characters required for the role play before starting it.
After everyone has read the scenario, decide which person plays which character.
Role play: Act like you are that character in that situation and let the interactions happen naturally in German. Try to solve the conflict between characters as if you were really a part of that situation.
It might be hard for some people to pretend that they are someone else. But usually as the people around them start communicating, they simply react to others and understand what they have to do.
Focus on how your opinion influences how you listen to other people, and how you judge other characters while they speak. Record the role play and immediately after it ends, listen to it and identify errors in German. Practice those words or pronunciations later.
Note the motivations, thoughts and emotions of others: On a piece of paper, write down what you thought was going on in other characters’ minds and the reasons behind their behavior.
Confirm: Check with others if you are right about the other characters or not. Ask them if they would like to add something to your description about their characters. This will help you realize how well you understand what others were saying, or what you missed and why.
Activities for Content-oriented German Listening
3. Listening to Podcasts
Best for: every type
Podcasts are just talk shows of the internet. They are wildly popular around the world and you can download and listen to them anywhere.
You can find German – language podcasts on practically any subject! You can take them anywhere on your mobile device to listen with friends or get some practice alone in your free time.
- Watching Authentic Videos on FluentU
Best for: every type
FluentU is an innovative app where you can listen to real-world English audio and video that has been supercharged with language learning tools.
There are German movie trailers, news clips, YouTube videos, music videos… you name it! And each video comes with interactive captions providing definitions and native pronunciations for any word. So if the speaker is talking quickly or if they use a word you do not recognize, you can learn it instantly.
FluentU also comes with flashcards and exercises based on the videos to give your listening skills an extra workout.
If you are an extrovert you can watch the videos with your friends and use FluentU’s progress tracking tools to see who learns the most. If you are an introvert you can watch in the comfort of your home.
There are videos on a huge range of topics, so thinking types can watch science videos, feeling types can watch dramas, judging types can watch structured lessons… all while absorbing German the way native speakers really use it!
Activities for Action-oriented German Listening
5. Making Origami
Best for: introverts, sensing, thinking and judging types
Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. Through origami you can make dogs, toys, birds, baskets and even dragons!
This activity is ideal for introverts and people who like to work with their senses. Thinking and judging types will also enjoy this because origami follows very logical, ordered steps to make complex designs with just a piece of paper.
The best way to use origami as a German listening activity is to watch instructional videos online and follow them simultaneously. This way, you will immediately get to know if you are able to understand the speaker, because if you make a mistake, the origami will simply look wrong.
6. Treasure Hunting
Best for: extroverts, intuitive, thinking and perceiving types
A treasure hunt is a game where you try to find different objects by following clues.
This activity is best for people who like to be outdoors, interact with others, think about patterns and use logic to solve puzzles.
Recommended steps for treasure hunt listening practice:
- Plan the area in which you want to hold the treasure hunt.
- Decide the places where you want to hide objects.
- Create clues for the treasure hunt participants to find the objects.
- Decide if people will play in groups or as individuals. For this exercise, it is best to play in groups as long as everyone participates.
Make sure that the clues are not written down on paper. This is a listening game, not a reading activity. One person will need to read the clues out loud.
Make sure to keep the clues easy to solve and their wording simple so that players can focus primarily on their German listening skills. After the game is finished, have a review meeting where people discuss their problems and what they could or could not understand and why.
Activities for Time-oriented German Listening
7. Listening to Top News Headlines
Best for: introverts, sensing, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving types
Audio news is not only a valuable tool to learn a new language, but it also helps you keep up-to-date on current events around the world. This in turn allows you to join more conversations online or offline with German speakers and improve your skills further.
Listening to news can be a good way to practice German for almost all types of people. It just might not be perfect for extroverts (who learn better in group activities) or intuitive types (who like to go beyond facts and use their imaginations).
After you listen to the day’s news stories, keep a news scrapbook around you and note down one-line summaries of all the current stories.
8. Playing Catch Phrase
Best for: extroverts, intuitive and thinking types
This is a party game where there are two or more teams. In each turn, one player has to make the other members of his or her team guess a phrase using gestures and descriptions.
A timer keeps ticking in the background and when it runs out, the team still guessing the phrase loses the round.
This game is a good listening exercise for extroverts since it is a group game. It is also ideal for intuitive and thinking types as you have to make quick and logical connections between words.