ESL Basics: Dictation

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!

Have fun!

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

coffeeHere’s my favorite post from the blogathon. It is a bit harsh perhaps, but very very true – in my opinion.

What teachers say and what they actually mean:

1. The students are spoilt brats = My management skills are poor

2. I’m focusing on fluency = I can’t be bothered to mark all those papers

3. Kids today don’t want to learn – I don’t know how to teach kids of today

4. I’m not a computer person = I can’t be bothered to learn all this new tech stuff

5. Conferences and PD sessions are a waste of time = I don’t want to spend my time learning new things

6. I don’t like games/projects = I am not good at organizing games/projects

7. It’s the parents’/administration’s/Department of Education’s fault = I am unwilling to take any responsibility

8. There is nothing I can do about it = There is nothing I want to do about it

9. Children were not this badly behaved when I was a child = I am so old that I have forgotten

10. I don’t need lesson-plans = I am too lazy to plan my lessons

Have you ever used any of these excuses or have you heard them used? I know I have…


Thank You!

174420_670360996_7156703_n[1]Dear everybody,

Thank you all so much for your support and friendship throughout the blogathon month. I cannot tell you how delighted I am to have won the Gold Award! It’s hard to believe that I will actually get to travel to Brighton and experience the IATEFL conference. It will be my first experience as such, – I’ve never been to a conference abroad before.

I also want to congratulate all of my friends who won awards as well, you were all amazing! I know that the jury must have had a really hard time choosing between us, – I don’t know what little detail persuaded them to decide in my favor but I suspect I just got lucky for once. I thought the winner would be Elena, Eva, Bluering, Crystalheart, Solmaz or possibly Survival Guide, Dave, Esin or Merve – not to forget Seabiscuit – my wonderful argumentative friend :-) but this time I hit the jackpot. I am so very grateful to the British Council for selecting me!

:-) CoffeeAddict