May 24, 2013

Using cell phones for dictations

After attending Nicky Hockly's session at IATEFL, I wanted to try a type of dictation which she presented to teachers. Students use any notetaking app from their own cell phones to type sentences the teacher dictates. DETAIL: the teacher dictates the sentences letter by letter and students add the gaps between words as they see fit.

The objective of the lesson yesterday was for students to be able to talk about obligations and necessities using MUST/ MUSTN'T , SHOULD/ SHOULDN'T, HAVE TO / DON'T HAVE TO.
The course book we use is New English File Intermediate (unit 3A). The language topic of the lesson is CELL PHONES. 

I decided the mobile dictation would be a good warmer for this class. I created  4 sentences using the modals mentioned above.

This is the sequence we used:
1. I divided the students into groups of 3 students.
2. Students would use their cell phones for a dictation (if any student didn't have a cell phone, they would use pencil + notebook for the same activity).
3. I dictated the questions, letter by letter, without repeating it. At the end of each question, students could compare their sentences with the other members of their group.
4. After the dictation, I elicited the questions on the board.
5. Students used the same questions to develop a conversation with their group.

  • I was surprised to see ALL my students had their cell phones with them.
  • They were totally involved with the activity and fully concentrated.
  • It was an excellent exercise for spelling and their perception for when a word would end and the next one would start.
  • Asking them to check their sentences with the group seemed to be a good idea as they interacted with each other.

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