A novel approach for using dictations in the EFL classroom

I got this idea from and ESL/EFL forum and tweaked it a bit for my classes

A “dictatory” is a dictation that is a continuous short story that spread over 8-10 lessons depending on the length of each dictation (approximately 40-50 words). Instead of an unconnected dictation of English passages, students listen to short paragraphs which together make up a short story. The advantages of using a dictatory is not only the continuity in the story itself with each paragraph dictated to the students, but also gets the students interested in the story by looking ahead to the next paragraph/dictation by asking questions to find out more about the plot and the story as well as predicting what might happen next. As such, the dictation is no longer a mechanical exercise, but a fun-filled activity from which a teacher and students can benefit.

Advantages of using a dictatory in class

  • Students pay more attention so they hear and understand more.
  • Students think ahead to try and guess what will happen next in the story.
  • Students are not merely doing a mechanical exercise, but instead are involved in a real communicative situation by asking questions about the story, making educated guesses about what will or could happen next.
  • Teachers can tailor make dictatories based on vocabulary and structures/patterns taught in a class.
  • Language is recycled.
  • Gives practice for listening comprehension.
  • Forces to students to write at least 40-50 words in English every lesson the dictatory is given that improves their general writing skills as well as increasing their vocabulary.
  • It provides uniformity and continuity for students.