Paul Davis ad Mario Riinvolcuri did a book a few years back with ideas for dictation- it is still around and might be if use.
I've got an Intermediate (B1) class and I think some of them will really benefit from dictation exercises. One student in particular has parents who speak English in the home sometimes but he's never written it so his spelling is all over the place. I have a couple others who just can't ever seem to conjugate verbs correctly (we can analyze the situation, determine which tense is required, and then they come up with things like "was did" or "had going"--I'll probably make a different thread for these guys one day).
I don't want to take class time because 1) it's a good sized class (13) with a range of levels and I can see some of the students getting really bogged down in this and taking a LOT of time and 2) I'd like to do it regularly so they can get better at "filling in the gaps" of what they don't hear or understand exactly. I made a class wiki on http://www.wikispaces.com/ (free wikis for higher education, extremely easy to set up and use), and I'm going to make a page where they can listen to a recording and stop and rewind as they please while they write. Class meets Tues/Thurs evenings and I want to publish the recording on Thursdays and the text on Tuesdays so they can make corrections before the next recording. I'm going to use folk tales and fairy tales.
Here come the questions:
What's going to go wrong (besides technical/internet failures on my end)? How limited should I make the vocabulary so they don't just throw their pencils down and give up when they "don't understand"? Should I give them a word list? Pictures? Should I have them answer some short answer questions before the dictation to encourage listening for gist and main ideas? How long is too long? 150 words?
I've never actually done dictation exercises before so if any of you could share some good or bad lessons you've had with them I'd be much obliged!
If anyone else finds this thread, I found the introduction to the book here, I'm really looking forward to it!
Thanks also to Pete and Jon for the articles!
(I think my exclamation mark count indicates I may have had too much coffee this morning)
It was interesting to see a technique that was dead and buried make a comeback and shake off its dull image.
French dictation classes from an early age meaN that I often end discussions with the phrase 'Point finale'. It doesn't always work though.
Back at the topic. I've never tried dictation in an ELT class. (Thanks for the wiki tool though).
Last edited by BobK; 12-Jul-2011 at 15:35. Reason: Typo fix
So here's the page I ended up with: http://ifage-new-english-file-interm.../Dictations%21
My opinion: overall, I'm pleased with it (basically because I can use all of them again, as is, if I want). There was a pretty high attrition rate in the class and the guy with the spelling problems I mentioned in the first post just turned out to be a lazy bag of excuses so it didn't help him at all. 4-5 of the students really got into them, did about 80% of them and enjoyed the 5 minute session at the start of class where they found out if they had guessed the end of the story correctly.
Problems: the first assignment (Amin and the Eggs) was too long, the average reported time to complete it was around an hour. I think it may have put people off even trying some of the other ones. I wasn't really sure how to follow up on it, either. I sent emails letting people know they'd done well or what they needed to pay attention to, but after that... ???
Tech stuff: Wikispaces is brilliant for this. There's a record of every change made to the site so when a student corrects her homework it's dead easy to get the old version to compare. I used a Sony digital voice recorder, now I wonder if my new smartphone won't sound better. If you're curious about anything else, ask away.
Questions: I got almost all of my stories from Story Arts. 1 Is this copyright infringement (I'm not making a profit and with free premium wikis for higher education there's no advertising on the site)? 2 Where can I find more short fables/folktales like these? Any suggestions for future use?
I also did some standard dictations in my elementary class. I just took readings from the course book and turned them into dictations before we discussed the questions/grammar/etc. The students really enjoyed the structure, silence and time allowed to write something and after 2 Fridays in a row, two students asked if we would do one the next week.
I also got the Mario Rinvolucri book mentioned by Tdol. I think it's great but I also don't feel like I have enough time in my classes to really "play games." I'll keep re-reading it and see if I can't make some of the ideas work.
Conclusion: A++++++ would dictate again
Rinvolucri was a breath of fresh air at the time, but some of his ideas haven't aged too well. I know what you mean about 'playing games'.