Options for Training Sessions
by Judy Guttridge
Another activity I have used in the classroom is what
I call Strip Dictation. (I think it was invented by
a group of colleagues on a British Council Summer School at
Exeter in 1982.)
The sentences (or even paragraphs) of a text are each
put separately onto card to form 'strips'.
The students are put into groups and sit in a circle.
The number of students in the group depends on the number
of strips composing the text (although this may vary).
Each student receives a 'strip' of text. Each student
must read his/her 'strip' silently, decide what it means,
how to say it aloud, and, if possible, memorise it.
Then in turn each student says his piece of text to
The apparent aim of the activity is to determine the
correct order of the text and for the students to organise
themselves to move and sit in the correct order of the text.
This, however, involves clear speaking, attentive listening
and making sense of what you hear, and finding links between
'strips'. There is also a lot of asking for repetition and
thinking about meaning as well as language relating to the
re-organisation of the group ('first', 'then', 'sit between
student A and student D', etc.) and asking people to move
places. Naturally, physical movement is involved. (Hope it
will satisfy the kinaesthetic needs of NLP enthusiasts, or
should I say kinaesthetic learners!).
Usually I try to have texts which are not too long,
as it risks becoming too lengthy an activity (7 or 8 people
in a group, but this will also depend on level), and it is
obvious that there must be a fairly clear logical progression
within the text itself. Generally speaking, I prepare sets
with different texts for more than one group.
If there are too many people the extras can be part
of the circle and, although they do not have a text to commit
to memory, they can participate actively in the reconstruction
of the text and of the group circle.
the trainees I followed the same procedure, only in this case
I chose a passage from Widdowson's Teaching Language as
Communication (1978), which then became the basis for
the discussion in the next part of the session, as well as
the evaluation of the exercise as illustrated above. The trainees
were experiencing a new procedure for Jumbled Reading while
receiving input of a more technical nature. The activity is
not complete without a similar reflective evaluation of the
exercise as illustrated above at the end of the previous activity.
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