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Teaching Tips 8

Correction triangles
Mumble drills
High speed dictations/dictogloss

Correction triangles
There are students who want to be corrected by you all the time & others who don't want any correction. Here's an idea to promote an awareness of your correction policy.

Cut out & paste together some stand up triangles - one for each student in the class. Colour each of the sides in the colours of traffic lights: red, green & amber. Put a triangle on each desk.

Each colour represents the amount of correction they want: green means 'correct me all the time', red means 'don't correct me at all' & amber means 'correct me at your discretion'.

As the students show the side they want, follow their instructions. They usually begin by wanting to be corrected all the time & then switch to no correction. After a while, in theory, the students should be fed up so they then put their triangles on amber & let you correct at appropriate times.

This should go hand in hand with a discussion on your correction policy.

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Mumble drills
Do you 'drill' your students i.e. ask them to repeat specific sentences in order to give them pronunciation practice?

There are a variety of different types of drills & the mumble drill is a variation on a repetition drill i.e. students simply repeat the sentence you give.

After you model the sentence a few times, get the students to mumble it to themselves. This can give them the opportunity to practice it 'privately' before being asked to join in group or individual repetition aloud.

While the students are mumbling stay out of the way & give them a minute to get their mouths & heads round the new structure. Then on to a bit of choral & individual drilling.

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High speed dictations/dictogloss
A variation on a normal dictation.

Here you choose a short passage & read it out at the same speed that you would normally read aloud - not at dictation speed. The students have to take notes - as much as they can catch which will be the stressed, 'content/information' words rather than the 'grammar' words. After one or two readings the students in pairs or small groups have to reformulate the text i.e. write a passage using their notes so that it makes sense.

The idea isn't really to produce an exact copy of the original but a logical, coherent text. While they are getting the passage together you could go round, helping out & correct/introduce alternatives. The groups could then compare their versions to see if they have the same essence.

While you are reading have a look to see how much they are getting down. This will tell you if they need another reading or not.

You could compare the students' versions with the original but this would change the aim & could be demotivating if the students feel their versions aren't very good.

The choice of the text you read out could be based on the theme or the actual language content; grammar or vocab - better if they are both linked in to what you are doing in the lesson/timetable.

For more on this check out 'Grammar Dictation' by R.Wajnryb (OUP)

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