Have you ever thought of a teaching technique that would focus on several skills at the same time? Many teachers have been accustomed to methods that help practise each skill separately. Of course, it is much easier both for a teacher and for a learner to concentrate on doing the activity that requires one or two skills than to think of an activity that deals with three or more skills at the same time. However, working on each skill separately is not always enough. We need to pay students’ attention to using more and more skills. To accomplish it, we can use a type of classroom dictation that requires more skills and more effort to write. The latter is called dictogloss.
What is dictogloss and how does it work?
Dictogloss is a language teaching method that is used in the classroom. During this activity students are required to reproduce a short text by listening and taking some notes. Before reading a text, the teacher discusses the topic of the text with kids. Then he/she reads the text and learners just listen to it. Afterwards the teacher reads the text again and kids write down some notes and key words that can be useful while reconstructing the story. At the next stage students work in groups and write a summary of the text. At last each group presents the work to their peers.
Another thing that can be done with dictogloss is to read the text three times. During the first reading students just listen to it. The second reading requires students to take some notes. And finally, during the third reading kids try to write as much as possible. Then they make a summary of the text based on scratches and useful words. Afterwards they work in pairs or groups to reconstruct the text. At the last phase kids read the original text and compare it with theirs. They are also asked to find similarities and differences between the original text and their own.
Benefits of using dictogloss
As we have already mentioned the peculiarity of dictogloss activity is that it deals with several skills simultaneously. Now let’s have a close look at the main advantages that dictogloss offers us.
- It encompasses all four skills -- listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- This activity gives learners a chance to use precise vocabulary and to enrich it.
- Learners have practice with applying certain grammar structures in their stories.
- It is a perfect technique to use for presenting new factual information to your kids and get them to listen to key points.
- Kids who are shy and less-confident to answer the teacher’s questions directly, get a chance to take part in group discussions and complete the task with their classmates.
There is a great number of dictogloss activities that can be applied in primary school. Here are some of them.
Dictogloss Tongue Twister
This is a very interactive way of getting your students involved in group tasks and it greatly helps them to improve pronunciation skills. All you need is a list of tongue twisters. Check the link to find examples of tongue twisters and additional tips on how to use them with your kids.
Dictogloss Tense Forms
If you want your young students to practise Tense Forms, either Present Simple or Past Simple, or whatever, choose a suitable text that corresponds to your needs. Here you can find text examples that are focused on Present Simple, and here -- on Past Simple. Of course, you can find a lot of other interesting sources of texts on the Internet as well.
Topics for Dictogloss
While choosing a topic for dictogloss activity, take into consideration your kids’ interests, the level of English, vocabulary and grammar forms. Among famous topics you can find Holidays, My family, My school, Daily routine, My home, etc. Before reading the text, you can ask your young learners to brainstorm, to come up with some ideas on the upcoming topic, thus introducing the theme of the text. You can even use flashcards, sequence pictures, etc. for making the task completion easier and understandable.
As observed in the article if the task performance is done properly, your kids will definitely gain a lot from dictogloss activities. Moreover, these tasks will encourage them to use some imagination, and work with their peers.