Dictation is a tried and tested activity in the language classroom. It’s a multi-skilled activity, testing listening and writing skills: it’s quick to correct too, and it’s diagnostic: we get valuable feedback for where our learners need to improve. Dictation draws our students attention to many features of speech: it helps them get to grips with elision: the omission of sounds ( /kamra/ for camera). The same can be said for assimilation: a sound becoming more like a nearby sounds (we often say ‘hambag’ for handbag). Indeed, dictation is particularly suited to English because of it’s complicated sound/spelling relationship.
Dictation is also used in certification exams. Take this example from the B1 level of the Pearson English International Certificate. At the top are the instructions the candidate sees, and the transcript of what they hear below:
Candidates hear the recording twice and the second time they hear it there are pauses to give them time to write (represented by the slashes above).
Read on to look at six great dictation activities to use in class with your students: