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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Listening dictation

Oral language Strategy

ESOL Principles:

Most strategies can be used to support all seven of the ESOL principles dependent upon how the teacher decides to use the strategy within their teaching and learning planning cycle. This strategy is usually used to support:

Principle 3: Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes?

Principle 4: Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete. How can I put these concepts into a concrete context?

Principle 5: Provide multiple opportunities for authentic language use with a focus on students using academic language. Is the language focus on key language? Do I make sure the students have many opportunities to notice and use new language?

Principle 6: Ensure a balance between receptive and productive language. Are the students using both productive (speaking, writing) and receptive (listening, reading) language in this lesson?


Teaches students the importance of concentrating on listening - listening plays an important role in school learning but it is seldom taught.

Explain the process to the students. Give students a partially completed graph or other visual. Read out the missing statements in short sentence-length chunks. Repeat each sentence twice. Speak at a normal pace. Pause after each sentence to give students time to process the sentence meaning and add to the graph.

In traditional dictation, teachers read aloud chunks of a text with a pause between each chunk in order to provide enough time for the students to write the text down. Text chunks may be read twice at a slightly slower speed than normal speaking. This can then be marked for correct words, spelling and punctuation.

Some other forms of dictation include: shared dictation; split dictation; picture dictation (RTF); running dictation and dictogloss.

video icon Secondary level: Making Language and Learning Work DVD 2 - Year 13 Economics.

Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

Primary level:

Secondary level:

Some possible Teacher Inquiry questions:

  • To what degree does what the students draw, reveal their depth of topic knowledge as opposed to their ability to listen and understand in English?
  • What other strategies can I use to build listening capability and how can I integrate them into my teaching and planning cycle as required?
  • Do my English language learners have a deeper level of topic understanding than their spoken English contributions to class discussions reveal?
  • How does what they draw reveal gaps in my students’ knowledge and what does this mean for my future teaching?


Useful websites:

Published on: 09 Aug 2012