Dictation is old as the language-teaching hills. I remember doing this in my various français classes and also in Cherman viss Frau Satcher, ja.
Now, dictée is like running, weightlifting or learning music: if you do it wrong, the results are frustrating, painful or non-existent. Like everything else in language teaching that we still do from 60 years ago, dictado has been tweaked.
- teacher reads 5-10 inter-related and meaningful sentences aloud
- these sentences should use the most-recently-taught vocab
- students write down what they hear.
- teacher can repeat each 2-3 x
- Ben Slavic suggests then projecting the sentences on the overhead and having kids correct their spelling.
- I always finish with translate into L1.
What Diktation should not be:
- a way of introducing new vocabulary and/or grammar
- a way for students to “practise” spelling
- isolated meaningless sentences (e.g. sentence #1 is “the boy is tall” and #2 is “it is raining”)
- to any degree incomprehensible
- graded for spelling to any significant extent
I use dictation as assessment, not as a vocab-acquiring activity, and I follow the 80/80 rule: 80% of class needs to get 80% or more for me to move on. Scores are usually quite high, as I do dictation after asking a story and doing readings of the story, or other stories using the same vocab. The kids don’t complain, it is a zero-prep activity, and it is 90% C.I. as the kids know the vocab. This is mostly how I get listening marks. Although it looks like output, mostly it’s input– listening– and the output is in L1. As James Hosler says, dictation while being assessment is another way to deliver C.I.
Here is what I am going to do for dictation on Monday in Spanish 2.
- There was a grandmother who wanted to give her grandson money.
- She told him “you must win a a dance contest”
- He said “I don’t like to dance, because I am lazy.”
- The grandmother wanted to give her money to Donald Trump.
- Donald Trump did not want her money.
You could also
- project a picture and describe it
- describe a character from your novel or story
- project bits of a clip from a video, narrate a sentence, and have them write that