Sunday, October 16, 2011

When Listening Comes Together with Writing

When Listening Comes Together with Writing (mp3)

Let Dictation Do The Work!

Dictation is mainly about the act of manner of transcribing words uttered by another person. Through the definition itself, teachers may expect this particular blog is about a listening activity to reproduce words from a dictation. However, we can say that dictation, in the current teaching process, can be considered as a old and boring way of teaching English. And this may demotivated student to continue to learn language, making teaching and learning unproductive. Nonetheless, there is a website that may change the perception about dictation.

Listen and Write - a free online website which uses recorded voices on various sources, such as current and past news reports, a short clip from a movie, or YouTube videos to produce dictation activities. Below is a printed screen of the website and a link is provided at the bottom of the photo:

Listen and Write, as stated in the above, expose students to most recent news and videos around the world. However, one important to be taken notice is that most of the voice recordings are taken from Voice of America. There a few types of activity provided in the website: full mode, quick mode and blank mode. Each mode has its own unique and way of completing the task, making this website even more interesting to be explored and used as an activity in the classroom for English language teaching.

Full Mode

Lets take full mode as an example. Firstly, teachers have to make sure about the text is:
  • The right level of text for the students.
  • The right topic for the subject.
As a reminder, the lowest level of the text maybe fairly hard to complete. Hence, teacher will have to constantly monitor the students, and provide oral advises to any student. In the listening activity, the text is divided into group of sentences. The online device will keep on repeating the displayed sentences until the students are able to complete re-writing the repeated sentences. After the students successfully completed re-writing that segments of the text, only then the media player will move into the next phase of the sentences of the text. The same process will be repeated until the students completed the whole text and obtaining a score for the activity done. Below is an example of a text that recently uploaded and can be done in a language class:

Level and Age of students

Based on the lowest difficulty designed in the website, i will recommend to be an activity for secondary schools students or above. I am not stating that this activity is not suitable for primary school students, but if teachers insists of using this activity for primary school students, close monitor has to been applied by the teachers so that those primary students will not be demotivated by the difficulty of the texts and general topics all around the world. Nonetheless, it will be a great activity for secondary school students or college students as it involves general knowledge and they should be able to cope up with the difficulty designed for the activity. It may be a challenge to students who does this activity, but it will be a great experience and it will guarantee enjoyment in doing it, especially when this activity is done in pairs or groups.


As this website originally promotes listening as well as writing(or typing) skills, both skills are great advantages to the students who do this activity. Below are more example of the advantages to be discovered by the students as they indulge themselves into solving the segments of texts on this website:

  1. Introduction to new vocabulary
  2. Practice pronunciation through listening skills
  3. Using cognitive skills to solve the text
  4. There are variety of levels for the students to text themselves
  5. Practice spelling skills
  6. Grammar usage in the texts
  7. Fun and challenging
  8. Exposure to new languages


There is no doubt that this activity has disadvantages as well. The disadvantages are:

  1. Schools need to have some of the important facilities, such as internet connections and also computers.
  2. Distraction of going to Facebook as there are Facebook application stamped on the website
  3. Students will get motivated due to the difficulty of the texts.


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