Teaching Integrated Skills Through a Group Dictation

Teaching ESL integrated skills with dictationHow to Set up a Group Dictation? – Teaching Integrated Skills

Choose or create a short written passage that is level-appropriate for the students. This passage could be used as a create interest opening to the theme of a new lesson, or as a review of some grammatical feature or vocabulary. This is an activity that forces students to read, speak, listen to and write longer chunks of language so they should not be hindered by unfamiliar language.

Make enough copies for each group and post them on the walls of the classroom. Have the groups sitting at a distance with their backs to their passage. The aim is for them to walk to the passage, individually read only one sentence until they have it memorized, then they return to tell their group their one sentence. They repeat this process switching roles, until they have the entire passage written out.

What Skills are Integrated?

This is an activity which has students practice reading, writing, speaking, listening and linguistic skills. They are developing the ability to process longer chunks of language. They should be encouraged to read to understand the meaning of their sentence, read it a few times and feel comfortable with it so that they can repeat it to their peers. They might try to help each other to negotiate meaning, fill in missing words and make meaning of the passage. They can also self and peer correct, or correction could be done by another group as this could be set up as a whole class competition with points awarded for different aspects.

What Will You Observe? – Teaching Integrated Skills

Top-down processing is difficult for some students who initially have trouble remembering whole sentences. Encourage them to read the sentence for meaning. They might close their eyes, repeat it silently to themselves and if need be read it again, until they are confident they can repeat most of what they have read (The teacher might model this process on the board with a few examples).
The person writing will want to begin as soon as the ‘dictator’ starts speaking and will interrupt the person who is dictating, causing them to forget what was read. Note well in the rules that they should not interrupt each other. The recorder should just listen to the whole sentence before beginning to write.

Set the Rules – Teaching Integrated Skills

They are to take turns being the reader and recorder.
They are to read only one sentence silently to themselves, can repeat it a few times and must return to their group and retell what they read.
They cannot read aloud directly from the passage to the person recording.
The person recording should only listen, not start writing until the reader has finished speaking. The writer also needs to process what they heard and if they don’t start writing, the person could repeat the sentence until the writer can record it.
While waiting for the reader, the group members can read and revise what they have written. This gets them reading for meaning as well as for linguistic concerns and peer correcting.

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