A.  What is Dictoglos?

            Dictogloss is an after reading strategy that helps student to improve listening comprehension. The students listen to a text, take notes, and share notes in small groups. It can be briefly summarized that as a dictation of the text where the students record as many words or phrases as possible and in a small group and try to reconstruct the text (Ellis, 2003). Jacobs (2003) sets out a reason for advocating the use of dictogloss: it is because it involves not only students’ attention to form but also to all four language skills (i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing). He also notes that dictogloss encourages learner autonomy, cooperation among learners, curricular integration, focus on meaning, diversity, thinking skills, alternative assessment techniques and involves teachers as co-learners.

1.   Learners’ Autonomy.

The dictogloss procedure promotes learners’ autonomy. Students are expected to help each other recreate the text rather than depend on the teacher to provide the information. The analysis and correction stage enables the students to see where they have done well and where they need to improve. (Vasiljevic, 2010: 45-46). Ways to add other dimensions of learner autonomy to dictogloss are students:

a.   asking for a pause in the dictation (Variation B)

b.   choosing the topics of the texts, selecting the texts themselves, and taking the teacher’s place to read the text (Variation C)

c.   elaborating on the text (Variation F)

d.   Giving their opinions about the ideas in the text (Variation G).

2.   Cooperation among Learners.

Traditional dictation was done as an individual activity. Dictogloss retains an individual element in which students work alone to listen to and take notes on the text read by the teacher. Learners work together in groups of between two and four members. Additionally, they have the opportunity to discuss how well their group did and, perhaps, how they could function more effectively the next time.

3.   Curricular Integration.

From the perspective of language teachers, curricular integration involves combining the teaching of content, such as social studies or science, with the teaching of language, such as writing skills or grammar. As in traditional dictation, with dictogloss, curricular integration is easily achieved by the selection of texts. For instance, if the goal is to integrate language and culture in order to help students learn important culture vocabulary and grammar, language teachers can use a text about culture for the dictogloss. In addition, to promote integration between language education and other curricular areas, dictogloss, as noted earlier, also promotes integration within the language curriculum, as all four language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing - are utilized.

4.   Focus on Meaning.

 Dictogloss seeks to combine a focus on meaning with a focus on form (Brown, 2001). As Swain (1999) puts it, “When students focus on form, they must be engaged in the act of ‘meaning-making’” (pp. 125-126).

5.   Diversity

 (Gardner, 1999) states that different people will attend to different information. This is reflected in the variation in the notes that students take in Step 3. Working in a group in Step 4 allows learners to take advantage of this type of diversity. A second meaning of diversity suggests that different students will have different strengths (Cohen, 1998) which may lead them to play different roles in their group. For instance, those with larger vocabularies and greater content knowledge in the topic of the text can help with that part of the reconstruction and those whose interpersonal skills are better developed may often help coordinate the group’s interaction.

6.   Thinking Skills.

The discussion that takes place during Step 4 of dictogloss provides learners with chances to use thinking skills as they challenge, defend, learn from, and elaborate on the ideas presented during collaboration on the reconstruction task.

7.   Alternative Assessment.

 Dictogloss offers a context-rich method of assessing how much students know about writing and about the topic of the text. The text reconstruction task provides learners with opportunities to display both their knowledge of the content of the text as well as of the organizational structure and language features of the text (Derewianka, 1990). As students discuss with each other during Steps 4 and 5, teachers can listen in and observe students’ thinking as they about a task. This real-time observation of learners’ thinking process offers greater insight than does looking at the product after they have finished. In this way, dictogloss supplies a process -based complement to traditional product-based modes of assessment. Furthermore, students are involved in self assessment and peer assessment.

8.   Teachers as Co-learners.

The current view in education sees teachers not as all knowing sages but instead as fellow learners who join with their students in the quest for knowledge. This knowledge can pertain specifically to teaching and learning, or it can be knowledge on any topic or sphere of activity. Dictogloss may be of use here in at least two ways. First, as mentioned in the last paragraph, we can observe students and apply what we learn from our observations in order to teach better. Second, during Step 1, we can share with students our interest in the topic of the dictogloss text and some of what we have done and plan to do to learn more about it or to apply related ideas.


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