Great Teaching Activities for the ESL Classroom: Dictogloss

Dictogloss is a language teaching technique that is used to teach grammatical structures, in which students form small groups and summarize a target-language text. First, the teacher prepares a text that contains examples of the grammatical form to be studied. The teacher reads the text to the students at normal speed while they take notes. Students then work in small groups group to prepare a summary of their work using the correct grammatical structures,and finally each group presents their work to the rest of the class. Dictogloss activities encourage learners to focus on the form of their language while also being based in communication, and are used in task-based language teaching.

Dictogloss activities have several advantages. They integrate the four language skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing.They also give students opportunities to talk both about content and about the language itself. Furthermore, dictogloss activities are a useful way of presenting new factual information to students, and encourage them to listen for key points. Finally, they give support to less confident students, as they are encouraged to participate in their groups as part of the structure of the activity.

An example of dictogloss is the following: learners discuss the sea; the teacher then explains the task, and reads a short text on the sea to the class, who just listen; the teacher reads the text again, and the learners take notes; in groups, the learners then reconstruct the text. In this activity, learners are required to reconstruct a short text by listening and noting down key words, which are then used as a base for reconstruction.


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