Dictations?! Really? Isn’t this method outdated, boring and non-communicative?
Yes, it certainly isn’t modern or innovative, but it is useful. It provides feedback on listening and during a dictation the skill of writing gets some practise.
Moreover, Paul Nation in his book “What Every EFL Teacher Should Know?” puts dictation among Language-Focused listening and speaking activities. He writes that “there is value in giving deliberate attention to language features in listening and speaking. This deliberate attention provides a way of learning new language features quickly and efficiently.” Put simply, dictation helps learners practise listening and writing and it improves their language at the same time.
How to do a dictation?
The classroom procedure should be following. The teacher first reads the whole dictation at a normal speed, and students only listen. Then the teacher reads small chunks of the text quite naturally and students write what they hear. The teacher reads each chunk twice. In the end, the teacher reads the whole text again at a normal speed.
Once the dictation is over, there are several ways to check the writing. The teacher can collect the dictations and check them. Or they can display the correct text and students correct their own work. Or the students work in pairs and correct their partner’s writing.
I followed these instructions and I created and recorder the following dictations for my elementary students of English.
The first two dictations focus on the verb TO BE, while the last one features the verb HAVE GOT, too.
I hope these dictations will help you in your teaching and that your students will improve their listening and writing.
Nation, P (2013). What Should Every EFL Teacher Know? [E-book].Compass Publishing.
Dictation is one of the best listening activities. To be able to write what you hear, you have to understand it and know the words. Once you can divide the stream of sounds into separate words, then you can understand it. And as dictation makes you do this, it is the best way to improve your listening skills.
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In this post there are three dictations. The first dictation is for elementary students, the second is for lower-intermediate and intermediate students and the third one is the most difficult. These exercises should be used to practice listening at home or on students mobile phones.
Moreover, each exercise is offered as an MP3 recording where each sentence is repeated three times. You can use these recordings at school for your students to practice their listening.
If you want to use the exercise at school here you can play the recording for elementary students. At the end of the exercise there are all the sentences written and your students can check their answers on IWB.
If you want to use the exercise at school here you can play the recording for Pre-intermediate students. At the end of the exercise there are all the sentences written and your students can check their answers on IWB.
If you want to use the exercise at school here you can play the recording for intermediate students. At the end of the exercise there are all the sentences written and your students can check their answers on IWB.
Christmas is nearly over, but when the holiday ends I would like my students to tell me about their Christmas. To be able to do this properly they will need a lot of Christmas vocabulary. Here is a mind map introducing all the key words and concepts connected with Christmas in Great Britain and the USA. Go through all the words and content and then play the game to practise the Christmas vocabulary.
Christmas Vocabulary game
Once you know the vocabulary it is time to practise it. Here is a simple quiz where you should fill in the names of the things you see in the pictures. If you get more than 80% of all the answers correct you can play a game called Indiara. Good luck.
Christmas Traditions – listening
I come from the Czech Republic and I have prepared a short text describing the unusual traditions connected with Christmas here. You can listen to the recording and then play a comprehension game. To make the listening easier for you, you can listen and read the text at the same time. This kind of listening is very good for your pronunciation too, as you can read along.
If you feel that you need more listening practice, try the following dictation exercises. Listen to the recording and then fill in the missing words. You can stop the recording whenever you like and play different parts again. In this way your listening comprehension will improve.
I hope you will find all these resources useful.
More Games to learn English
If you like these exercises there are many more games to learn English at this site. We recommend the following ones:
Past tense of the irregular verbs – this post contains a mind map and several highly addictive games to learn the English irregular verbs in the past tense.
And what about present perfect tense? Is it still a mystery for you? Try the following post on Present perfect tense.