1. Aims of the Material
It is often claimed by learners of English that listening is the most difficult skill to master (Farrell and Mallard 2006; Renandya and Farrell 2011). Much research has been devoted to strategies and learning materials which can counter this issue, including the use of computers, believed by Rost (2002) to be beneficial to the acquisition of listening skills. According to research (Brett 1997; Figura and Jarvis 2007; Vandegrift 2007) this is also a view held by many learners themselves.
The materials presented in this paper have been designed for a group of ten 17 and 18 year-old upper-intermediate learners at a private language school in Latvia, and are intended to be used during one of the weekly, ninety-minute sessions they have in the school's computer room. They aim to provide practice in listening to authentic materials through topics which the learners have previously stated an interest in - comedy and American TV - in addition to reviewing or introducing learners to some functional language for making suggestions and lexical chunks found in informal spoken English. A lesson plan is provided in Appendix 1.