Speaking and Listening in English: Past, Present, and Future Tenses For ESL Learners

Speaking and Listening in English:  Past, Present, and Future Tenses For ESL Learners
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Speaking Practice

Students enter the class with the following three questions written on the board.

  • What did I like to do?
  • What will I like to do?
  • What do I like to do?

Have each student write his or her answer to those questions before you begin. Tell them that in a few minutes each student is going to have the opportunity to share what they like with another student. Let them know that they will be able to use their notebooks at first. Eventually they will be asked to put their notebooks down and speak from memory.

Give the students some time to memorize their responses at their desks before you ask them to begin to socialize. Instruct them to listen well to what their fellow students are saying and then have them stand up and begin to ask one another, “What do you like to do?” “What will you like to do?” “What did you like to do?” They will have to practice their speaking and listening in English to complete the objective.

If you are having problems with getting the students to speak in your room, try adding more dialogue and following a lesson plan template.

Listening Practice

Listening and Speaking English lesson plan - Past, present, future - listening

Give your students approximately 5 minutes to complete this speaking practice activity by having them stand up and ask one another the following questions.

  • “What did you like to do?”
  • “What do you like to do?”
  • “What will you like to do?”

When they finish, have them return to their desks and give them this listening comprehension worksheet. This worksheet asks the students to name three people they spoke with, reporting one thing from the past, present, and future that the people with whom they spoke liked. Some of your students, those that tend to listen better, will have a better chance at filling this out.

After a few minutes, ask a student to name someone to whom they have spoken. Have the two students say what they remember about the conversation. Do this a few times and then ask the question, “What are other ways we can practice listening and speaking skills?”

Past, Present, Future - Speaking and Listening Game

For new language learners, speaking in the present is often easier then speaking in the past. The present tends to be the easiest and first tense to master. Tell your students that the following game will have them practicing their ability to speak as well as listen in the past, present, and future.

Have your students sit in a circle. Pass around a ball. Explain that the pattern of the game is past, present, and future. Therefore, an example would be:

Student 1: “I liked to play basketball.” (Past) Student 1 passes the ball to student 2.

Student 2: “I like to play volleyball.” (Present) Student 2 passes the ball to student 3.

Student 3: “I will like to play sports in college.” (Future) Student 3 passes the ball to student 4

Student 4: “I didn’t like to eat leftovers.” (Past) And so on.

You may need to do a couple of practice rounds to get your students into the rhythm. This game requires that your students are speaking and listening well enough to continue the game. This game can be challenging and a lot of fun.

Image References

Sensual lips by Saintswithin under public domain.

Ear by David Benbennick under GNU Free Documentation License

This post is part of the series: ESL Lesson Plans

These articles are a great resource for any ESL teacher. They include fully thought out lesson plans with games, step by step instructions, and a lot a quality learning.

  1. ESL Lesson Plan: The Conditional Tense
  2. Easy ESL Math Lesson Plan: Counting to a Million
  3. Improving Listening Skills: English Verb Tenses For Your ESL Class
  4. Teaching Teenage ESL Students About Basic Nouns