Form One English: Students' Notes Topic #03: “Listening to dictations”



INTRODUCTION
By definition, Dictation is an old-fashioned and teacher-centred method of teaching and learning. In its simplest form, dictation refers to a person reading some text aloud so that the listener(s) can write down what is read. 
DICTATION PROCESS
The normal process of conducting dictation is done in the following ways;
(1) A teacher reads the whole text at a talking pace for the first time.
(2) Students write as the teacher read the text for the second time.
(3) Finally, a teacher writes the correct version of the text on the board or provides copies to students for them to correct their mistakes.

METHODS OF DICTATIONS 
A learner-centred dictation is a kind of dictation in which students have more time to do their own dictations with little interference from the teacher.
In this method, teacher can use students as the 'dictators' and add the benefit and more focus on students' pronunciation and other activities.
The following are the four (4) methods of Dictation: 
(A) Group Dictation: A Student Dictating Other Students
In this exercise, one student can read for others to write. The student who read should be able to pronounce words properly and observe correct punctuations.

"My mother is a nurse. She works at our village dispensary. Many people like her. They say she is kind to the patients. One day I broke my little toe. My father rushed me to the dispensary. My mother treated me. After recovering, I thanked my mother for treating me."

(B) Pairs Dictation (Students in Pairs) 
Students can also dictate to each other in pairs. They sit opposite to each other and they read sentences to each other. The teacher can allow them to consider it a competitive game.

(C) Blackboard Dictation 
This is another student-centered dictation. The teacher creates two groups of students and start reading the dictation. After hearing the sentence two members of the two groups (one from each group) should run to the blackboard and write the sentence as quickly as possible. At the end one group should be a winner.

(D) Dictation for Testing Various Language Skills/Areas 
Also dictations can be used to test the students’ ability in various language learning areas and learning disciplines. For instance, a text can be about any tense or any word class in order to test students’ ability in such areas. The following text, for example, can be good option for testing students’ ability on mastering prepositions:

"On 1st January is New Year’s Day. On this day we celebrate the start of New Year. In many countries this day is very famous. At 11:59 pm of every 31 December becomes intense moment for everyone." 

BENEFITS OF DICTATIONS
Dictations have various benefits to the teachers and students in various ways: 
For the teachers, a dictation:
(1) Can be taught at any level depending on the text used. 
(2) Can be graded for a multi-level class.
(3) Requires very little preparation and photocopying.
(4) Gives the students more listening and writing /spelling practice.
(5) Saves time. The class can be divided into two groups and the words/phrases dictated quickly with each group required to write down only half the words given.

For the students, a dictation:
(1) Helps them to improve both both accuracy and fluency. 
(2) Can help the students to develop all four skills. 
(3) Gives students the opportunity to notice features of pronunciation such as weak forms, linking and elision.
(4) Can increase students' ability to notice aspects of the language which are sometimes overlooked, as well as mistakes which they commonly make. These might include common spelling errors, absence of articles or the third person ’s’, and the like.
 The comparison also helps students to become better at identifying errors in their own written work.

CONCLUSION
Dictation should not be ignored by both teachers and students. It should be taught in order to foster accuracy and fluency in all four language skills: reading, speaking, listening, and writing.


Also check out: All Form One English Notes


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