TESOL Activity: Dictogloss

Are you looking for an activity that involves multiple skills, can be done in small groups and encourages students to paraphrase and recycle their vocabulary and grammar? Dictogloss may be just what you need.

What is Dictogloss? – ESL Activity

Dictogloss is a type of dictation activity, but rather than writing down each word as spoken by the instructor, students listen to a short text and note key words and phrases. Students then reconstruct the text using their notes as a guide. The activity encourages students to reflect meaningfully on their language use,  and they seem to enjoy the challenge.

Procedure – Dictogloss ESL Activity

Teachers can vary the procedure according to their needs, but the following steps provide a basic outline for using dictogloss in class.

1.  Choose a short one or two paragraph text with vocabulary at an appropriate level for your class.

2.  Tell students they will hear the text twice. The first time, they should just listen. After the first listening, give students a couple of minutes to talk with a partner about what they have heard.

3.   Have students listen to the text a second time. This time, they can jot down key words and phrases as they listen.

4.   Have students work in pairs or small groups. Give them a moment to compare their notes, then have them reconstruct the text.

5.   When students have completed their texts, they can be corrected as a class.

Remember to read the texts at normal speed so that students are listening to natural speech.

Dictogloss provides students with an opportunity to practice real life listening skills, while stretching their language abilities.

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