Dictonation is a valuable language teaching tool

     In the modern methodology of language teaching, there is a wide variety of ways and means of teaching, one of which is dictation. For a long time, this type of activity was considered undeservedly forgotten and old-fashioned, a relic of the grammatical translation method that dominated language teaching at the end of the 20th century.

     According to the generally accepted opinion of methodologists, dictation is the simplest form of learning, involving reading the text aloud in such a way that the listener can write down what is being read to him word for word. And then check the recorded text and correct the mistakes made. But despite the apparent simplicity of this learning tool, it has countless variations that can make the learning process more interesting and personality-oriented for students.

     Dictation can be an extremely versatile and fascinating type of learning activity. He practices, first of all, listening and writing skills. And it can also be argued that dictation improves the practical skills of vocabulary, syntax, grammar, as well as reading at the moment when the author analyzes his work. Thus, it can be concluded that dictation trains practical language skills in all aspects of speech activity. However, there is a skill that is missing from this list – the ability to speak. This type of activity can be trained if a non-standard approach is applied to dictation.

     First of all, let's pay attention to who dictates the text. Traditionally, it is always a teacher. But why not instruct students to do it? There are several ways to do this. First of all, you can ask the student or students to dictate the text for the rest of the audience. Or you can organize the work of students in small groups, where each of them in turn dictates part of the text to the rest of the group. This gives students the opportunity to listen to each other (listening training), emphasizes the importance of clear pronunciation and ideally helps to stimulate the use of language in a monolingual group.

     Another way to implement dictation is to use the well-known "running dictation" method. This type of dictation can be used in the classroom, as it motivates and activates the activities of students in the group.

     To carry out this kind of dictation, you need a small text that corresponds to the level of language training of the audience, contains the appropriate vocabulary and aspects of the grammar that you are practicing. Make two or three copies of the text and stick them on the blackboard or on the wall so that students cannot read them from their workplace. Divide the students into groups. Each student takes turns approaching the text, reading and memorizing a piece of text. Then he returns to his group and dictates the part he has memorized. The others are writing it down. This process is repeated until the entire text is written down. When all the groups have restored the proposed text, they can compare their version with the original version.

     Another type of dictation is the confusing story technique, where each student in the group receives a sentence from the text in random order. The students must then dictate their suggestions to the rest of the group, and the group must decide on the correct order in a logical sequence.

     Dictation can also be used to teach students language guessing skills using context. Take a small text and delete from it from eight to ten words. They can be random or a specific class of words, such as verbs. Dictate the text to the audience, and instead of missing words, say "space". Students should use context to insert appropriate words.

     From the point of view of practicing writing skills, you can dictate text without punctuation marks, and then ask students in groups to correctly place punctuation marks in the text.

    Let's consider the dictation type "dictogloss" ("grammatical dictation"). When performing such dictation, students should listen to a text of varying length and complexity (depending on the level of language training of the group), without fixing it on paper. It is assumed that the text is read two or three times. Then the students must write what they have heard. What is important in this exercise is not the fact that they repeat the original sentences word for word, but that they compose sentences that accurately reflect the meaning and structure of the original ones. One of the ways to perform this type of activity is to discuss students' ideas in microgroups to jointly compose a version of the original text.

     Thus, it can be concluded that dictation is a useful and flexible type of language activity. You can use it to introduce a new structure, to present the first paragraph of the text, to repeat the vocabulary, to work out various grammatical aspects. If the dictation is connected to the rest of the lesson and has a clear and unambiguous purpose, it is likely to be very effective.

    Methodologists identify ten main reasons for using dictation in language teaching:

– students are active in this type of activity;

– students are active after carrying out this type of activity (students independently or jointly correct mistakes);

– dictation develops communication skills;

– dictation promotes unconscious thinking;

– dictation is suitable for groups of students with different language levels (group and pair work);

– dictation is used to work with large groups of students;

– dictation helps to establish a working atmosphere in the audience;

– dictation is a technically useful activity;

– dictation develops listening skills;

– dictation can be a transition to an interesting text.

   Historically, dictation has been used in teaching a foreign language for hundreds of years and methodologists have often pointed out its pedagogical significance. Davis and Rinvolucri write that "deciphering English sounds and recording them is the main task of learning," and Frodesen notes that dictation can be an effective way to address errors in writing, and this will be the result of an erroneous auroral perception of English. Dictation can help students diagnose and correct these kinds of errors, as well as others." Montalvan points out that "when students develop their auric understanding of the meaning of a word, as well as the relationship between individual segments of the language, they learn grammar."

   Despite these statements by respected methodologists, dictation is not widely used in English language teaching curricula. On the contrary, he was ignored in them for a long time. The purpose of this article is to present dictation as a valuable means of teaching a foreign language and to suggest ways to use it in an effective and interesting manner.

   Sawyer and Silver draw our attention to 4 more possible types of dictation that can be used in teaching a foreign language. We will present a definition of each of them, and then turn to the one that has the most widespread use in teaching English.

    The first, phonemic dictation, consists of the teacher presenting individual sounds of the language to students to write a transcription. This type of dictation can be useful to enhance the student's ability to recognize language sounds and their contrasts, thereby ensuring their accurate reproduction. This type of dictation is an excellent way in teaching a foreign language at the initial stage to prevent the imposition of the native language sound system on the foreign language system.

    The second, textual-phonemic dictation is a more extended version of the first type of dictation. This dictation involves a teacher reading a passage to students to formalize the phonetic transcription of the text.

   The purpose of this dictation is to understand how English sounds and changes in coherent speech.

   The third, spelling dictation, is the dictation of individual words in isolation to formalize transcription. This dictation is similar to a traditional spelling test. It enhances the correlation between spelling and the language's sound system. In English, this correlation is more complicated than in other languages.

   The fourth, text-spelling dictation, involves the development of listeners' skill in transcribing a coherent passage of text. This is a classic type of dictation that all foreign language teachers are familiar with. This type of dictation is aimed at improving students' understanding of the text and shows gaps in grammar knowledge. Such dictation gives teachers the opportunity to analyze these mistakes and draw students' attention to them.

   Let's turn to the issue of selecting the appropriate material for dictation. The ideal dictation should come from a modern source of pure, standard English. The content of the text is the prerogative of the teacher. However, the lively and exciting text significantly improves the result. One of the goals of dictation is the practice of semantic understanding of a coherent text. For the initial stage of training, it is recommended to choose coherent texts with elementary phrases that are already known to students. At the next level, dictation should be based on the material that the students read, but with more expanded content.

   In both cases, dictation helps to improve and consolidate knowledge of basic grammatical and semantic structures, as well as vocabulary. At an advanced stage, the goal becomes more complicated. It is necessary to make students learn to hear and listen to known and unknown facts. Therefore, the teacher must dictate unfamiliar texts.

   In all cases, the dictation material should be selected according to the students' abilities. And the style and use of the text should be similar to what students are most likely to reproduce themselves verbally and in writing.

   A textbook is a useful source for selecting material at all levels. Using it, the teacher will avoid making the wrong choice of complex material that differs from the language norms known to students. The selected material should include examples of the linguistic aspects that the students worked with in the classroom (grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation).

   A good time to take dictation is the beginning of the lesson, because at this time you can focus the students' attention, calm them down and ensure their efficiency. Before starting the dictation, the teacher writes proper names, abbreviations, acronyms or specialized words on the blackboard that the listener was not familiar with before. The teacher also writes on the blackboard any selected word that has a variety of uses. At the beginning of the assignment, the teacher reads the entire text once at the usual speed. As recommended earlier, the teacher should select an excerpt from a textbook that students are already familiar with (part of the text, a short story or an article). During the first reading of the text, students only listen. The teacher then reads the dictation a second time at a slower speed. Students start taking notes. The teacher stops after each paragraph or semantic passage, and also talks about punctuation, which students should take into account. Sometimes the student asks to repeat a word or phrase again, if required.

   Then the teacher reproduces the text for the third time at the usual speed, stopping at punctuation. While reading, students check the work and make final edits.

   After the end of the dictation and the final correction by the students within 1-2 minutes, the teacher stops the work of the students. Then they receive the original source of the dictation and correct their mistakes in the text themselves. Alternatively, the teacher may suggest that students check on each other.

   Periodically during the semester, the teacher must check notebooks to correct mistakes made by students. The assessment will require attention in separating errors of understanding and spelling. Comprehension errors include phonological errors and grammatical errors. From these data, the teacher can get objective information about the strengths and weaknesses of the students. In class, you can discuss common mistakes made by most students.

   Dictation is a valuable means of teaching a foreign language, which has been used for centuries. One of the most influential linguists of the 20th century, Leonard Bloomfield, was very supportive of the use of dictation as a means of learning. Today, many methodologists are finally inclined to agree with Finochiaro's opinion that dictation provides attentive listening, it trains students to recognize sounds, helps to fix punctuation, gives students the opportunity to learn how to translate oral sounds into written signs, which helps to develop oral understanding, as well as self-esteem.

    The advantages of dictation include the following points:

– dictation makes the student and the teacher realize the errors of understanding – phonological, grammatical, etc. Typical mistakes in English are often omitted related morphemes, such as: -s in many parts, -‘s in the possessive case, -s in third–person singular verbs, verbs with the ending -ed.;

– Dictation shows students different types of spelling mistakes that they tend to make;

– Dictation gives students the practice of understanding and transcribing pure English prose;

– dictation trains students to take notes, which is very valuable in further studies (recording lectures) with normal speech speed;

– dictation trains students in correct forms of speech;

– dictation helps to develop all four types of speech activity;

– dictation helps to train short-term memory. Students learn to memorize meaningful paragraphs or sentences before writing them down;

– dictation can serve as an excellent training of the studied material;

– dictation stimulates unconscious mental activity in a foreign language;

– if students do well, then dictation motivates them in their studies;

– dictation involves the whole class, regardless of its size;

– students are always active during and after dictation;

– dictation provides an opportunity for self-examination and self-assessment;

– dictation can be used for students of any language level;

– dictation can be mastered and effectively managed even by an inexperienced teacher;

– dictation unites the class, creating a working atmosphere;

– dictation gives access to interesting texts;

– dictation can be a good indicator of general foreign language training.

   To summarize, dictation is a useful and flexible type of activity in language teaching. You can use it when introducing a new structure, introduce the first paragraph of the text, repeat a certain vocabulary or grammar. If the dictation is successfully integrated into the overall structure of the lesson and has a clear purpose, students will be happy to complete this type of task.

   Therefore, from the above it can be concluded that dictation is not only a very important and effective means of teaching a language, but also an effective tool for controlling students' knowledge. We tried to draw the teacher's attention to a non-standard approach in using this teaching method in modern language teaching methods.

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