Sunday, 27 May 2012

SHOUTING dictation

This is a variation on running dictation in a lot of ways, but even noisier. It worked fantastically well with my big Year 7 class, less well with my small upper school class (7 students).

I learned of this game via the amazing Moya McLauchlan - these are her instructions.

Shouting dictation - it's dictation; it's fun; and yes, it's loud. It's an information gap activity or barrier game for pairs of students that gets them into using language maintenance and repair strategies as they help each other to complete a written text.

How does it work?

Each student starts with a written copy of a text but the alternate lines are blank. Texts such as song lyrics, dialogues and poems work particularly well for shouting dictation.

Shouting dictation @ Scotch College
Student A

• Australians all let us rejoice
• ______________________
• With golden soil and wealth for toil
• ______________________
Student B

• _______________________
• For we are young and free
• ______________________
• Our land is girt by sea

Students take turns dictating the missing lines to their partner so that both end up with a complete text. They can't show the line to their partner, of course, and all communication must be in the target language.

Then there's the fun part. To make it more interesting and realistic (Imagine a conversation by telephone, in a crowded market, at a football game, in a nightclub.) students sit several metres apart in a noisy room. Music is especially good to create a noisy room.

What language skills do students practise?

• Listening and Reading and Responding
• Language learning strategies, particularly conversation maintenance and repair strategies.

We need to teach students the language for maintaining and repairing a conversation, for example:
• Please say it again.
• How do you spell .... ?
• Can you say it more slowly?
• What's the word/letter after ... ?
• Next line please.
• Is that P as in ... or B as in ...?

One word of warning, however: consider the classes around you before conducting a shouting dictation. At the very least, inform neighbouring teachers of the purpose and noise level of this learning activity.

Shouting dictation is a useful activity in any language learning program. Have you tried it?


  1. I really should have paid attention to the word of warning at the end - I got a very grumpy look from the teacher in the next room - but the kids loved it and in terms of what they learned and achieved, it was very much worthwhile.


  2. Great idea - I'm going to try this one this week!

  3. Love it! Something to try before the year wraps up. I shared a link to this post on my facebook wall. Thanks!
    Mme Aiello