I love dictation. There are so many good reasons for doing them (click on this link for a few) and they can be varied in so many different ways so they’re never boring. I use (different types of) dictation very often and that’s why one of my first ever blogs for the blogathon 2011 was about dictation. Andrew Harvey, a teacher-trainer from London who’s visiting my school these days, reminded me once again of their value.
Here are my Dictation Favorites…
1. Classico: The T reads the dictation text through once, at normal speed. The students only listen. Then the T reads the dictation again but stops after each phrase or meaningful unit. Students write what they hear. For any words they cannot transcribe, they leave a blank. The T then reads the dictation through a third time at normal speaking speed. The students should check their work and make any last changes. Finally the T projects the dictation text to the whiteboard and goes over it with the students. The students can also switch papers and check each other’s work.
2. Music Lover: The T sings (!) or plays a song, the Ss write down the lyrics. The procedure is otherwise as explained above. See here for more.
3. Dictogloss: The T reads through a text at normal speed. The Ss write the keywords – or as much of the text as they can manage. In pairs the S then try to reconstruct the text. The pairs then join another pair and the 4 share what they have and try to reconstruct the text further. Finally the T projects the dictation text to the whiteboard and goes over it with the students.
4. Running Dictation: In short; the T tells (or shows) only a few of the students the sentences. The Ss then run back to their groups/partners and repeat the sentence for them to write down. Bluering, my blogathon friend, explained the technique really well in her blog post called Running Dictation
5. For Art Lovers: The T describes a picture or an object and the Ss try to draw it. You’ll find a nice explanation of the technique here: Drawing Dictation. A variation is where student A (or the T) describes a lego construction (or a necklace made of beads) and the Ss recreate the structure/necklace…
7. Information Gap Dictation: The T reads through a text to which the Ss have a cloze. The Ss try to fill in the blanks. This can also be done where Ss in pairs have A and B versions of the text with different sections blanked out. They have to read the text to each other to fill in the blanks.
8. Techno Dictation: Where Ss listen to an audio/video recording online and transcribe the text (or fill in blanks, put sentences or paragraphs in sequence etc.) You can create some yourself, I use Podomatic and Moodle, or you can direct your Ss to ready-made dictations & exercises. Here are some good places to try: ESL dictation, Leo Network and Englishclub.
Also check out Nesrin’s blog on this subject. It’s excellent!