USING DICTAGLOSS AS CLIL PRACTICE IN THE EFL CLASSROOM
3. THE STUDY
In this study, dictagloss lessons were introduced in CLIL lessons to a group of fifteen second-year students who were at pre-intermediate level with the frequency of one dictagloss lesson every week during the second half of a fifteen week semester. Totally seven dictagloss lessons were given to the students whose major was Mathematics.
The time allocated for these lessons were scheduled for teaching integrated skills in the students’ English intensive programme. The researcher chose this time allocation to introduce dictagloss activities as she thought these class hours fit the nature of dictagloss which is meant to integrate the four language skills in one lesson.
After the researcher had spent the first half of the semester working with the group, she observed a significant number of grammatical errors such as word order, word choice, word forms, and use of inappropriate tenses. This was evident in their in-class writing where they used their content-based vocabulary and grammatical patterns in a number of writing
tasks. She often used error correction codes while checking their writing, leaving her students to correct their errors as homework. As a result, they were able to develop some ability to analyse and correct their own writing errors, which helped them become more prepared for the analysis and correction stage of the dictagloss lessons which their teacher was going to introduced them to. Using dictagloss activities is particularly suitable as they meet the need for teaching integrated skills as well as building on the students’ emerging self-correction ability.
In class, the group worked well together in pairs and groups, freely entering into discussions.
The aim of this study was to examine the use of dictagloss in Mathematic major-based lessons for a group of pre-intermediate EFL learners. The research questions that guided the study are: (1) How did students perceive their engagement in the dictagloss lessons? (2) How did the students work with the content and the language during the dictagloss lessons?
A questionnaire was developed for the students to complete anonymously after each lesson. The questionnaire asks for the students’ feedback about the dictagloss lessons introduced to them. After each lesson the researcher took notes on the content words the students heard, how they used these words for reconstructing a text as well as the mistakes they made, and how they identified and corrected these mistakes. The researcher later compared her notes with her students’ response to the questionnaire.
The students went through the four stages of preparation, dictation, reconstruction, and error analysis and correction in their dictagloss lessons based 7 selected texts directly related to their Mathematic major. The texts chosen for dictagloss varied in length, but were around 50 - 70 words. This length is recommended for dictagloss activities for pre-intermediate students (Wajnryb 1990). Each lesson took one class hour which lasts 50 minutes. The objective of each dictagloss lesson was that the students could reconstruct a text read by their teacher and were able to identify and correct most of the errors generated in their reconstructed text. The procedure for each dictagloss lesson takes the following stages.
Stage and Aim Procedure Interaction Timing
- To arouse students’
interest in the topic - To pre-teach some content-based vocabulary to prepare for the dictagloss text.
- To organize students in groups and set up the task
- Students watch a short video clip/visual aids to answer some given questions for understanding general ideas about the topic.
- Students compare their answers with a partner.
- Check with the whole class.
- Raise some discussion questions related to the topic.
- Students discuss in pairs for chain speaking activity (Teacher puts students into 2 lines, facing each other. Once the students have finished with their partner, move them for another round) - Present some content-based vocabulary items.
- Explain what Students are going to do in the dictagloss procedure and ask some ICQs (instructions checking questions)
- Arrange Students in groups of 3 or 4
Ss-Ss T-Ss T-Ss
KỶ YẾU HỘI THẢO KHOA HỌC QUỐC TẾ DẠY VÀ HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ GẮN VỚI CHUYÊN NGÀNH TRONG BỐI CẢNH HỘI NHẬP QUỐC TẾ: LÍ LUẬN VÀ THỰC TIỄN Dictation
- For the students to get a global/understanding of the text.
- For the students to write down words that they remember to help with the reconstruction stage.
- Explain what Students are going to do when first listening. They are just to listen to understand the meaning of the text without taking notes.
- Ask Ss to get their paper and pens ready but put their pens down.
- Dictate the first time. Students listen only.
- Dictate the second time for Ss to note down.
Ask them to pay due attention to content-based vocabulary items.
- Students make notes of what they have heard/
Reconstruction - For the students to work on their own, then together as a group to rewrite the text, using the words they have remembered.
- Ask Students first to compare their notes and discuss how the words are connected to what they heard.
- In groups, Students try to use the words they have noted down to create a text which is closest in meaning to the original text without the need to be exact word-by-word.
- Circulate to make sure the students are using the content-based vocabulary items in their reconstructed version.
Analysis and Correction
-For the students to identify and correct their own errors
- Divide the board into 4 parts for each group to send their representative to the board and write on their part of the board.
- Invite a student from each group to write their reconstructed text on the board.
- Elicit Students to analyse sentence by sentence together. Focus Students attention on the use of the vocabulary items and grammatical patterns in their text.
To revise what Students needed for this type of activity
- Ask Students what skills they needed to do this activity successfully (listening, speaking, writing, reading critically to check for errors).
- Ask Students what other things that helped them rewrite the text successfully (working in groups, discussing with partners, exchanging ideas and knowledge of vocabulary and grammar)
Findings Data collected
Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Lesson 6 Lesson 7
Questionnaires 15 15 14 15 13 15 13
Observation notes √ √ √ √ √ √ √
In response to the first research question of the study, on average around 93% the students participating in the lessons and the survey thought the choices of text were suitable for them and the topic coverage was relevant to their major. They did not find it
difficult to write down the content words from memory. About 86% of the students could recall the words from memory with little difficulty only. And 100% of the students agreed that they could practice using all the English language skills in the dictagloss procedure.
And above 90% of the students shared their opinions on the importance of teamwork in completing the activity, especially in discussing with their team to rewrite the text. They also found it useful to be aware of the mistakes they had made and then to be able to correct their own group’s mistakes. An interesting finding is that the more they got familiar with the dictagloss procedure, the more they would like to do this activity in their next lesson.
In the first lesson 80% would like to try the dictagloss lesson again but this percentage increased to more than 90% in the next lessons. They thought it was interesting to connect the content words with the grammar patterns introduced in the lessons. They also found it comfortable to work with their group members to rewrite the text without the direct pressure from their teacher to be grammatically correct. They agreed that the teacher’s eliciting questions helped them become more alert of the mistakes and the contribution of all the team members as well as their class members assisted them in spotting the mistakes and then finding out options to correct the mistakes.
Addressing the second research questions, the teacher’s observation notes show that the students were able to work with both the content and language without any major difficulty, which she thought was attributed partly to the clear instructions and instruction checking questions she gave to her students. She asked them to pay due attention to the content-based words in the first listening so that they could recall from their memory later in the next step. Then their attention was drawn to language form to connect these words. Working in their group helped the students learn from each other in terms of each individual’s grammatical strengths. They seemed to develop the sense of which grammatical pattern sounded correct to them and which did not. The weaker students were aware of their own areas which need improvement. Working in groups could help them bridge each other’s ‘gap’. The students discussed with their group members to ‘try out’ new language without the fear of taking risk at their own cost. They could improve the textual cohesion of their own output and deepen their awareness of linguistic patterns and tendencies through reconstructing the text and then revising the reconstructed text.
The students managed to correct most of the mechanical mistakes about prepositions, verb tenses, articles, word form at word phrase level. However, as far as the clause and sentence level is concerned, the students needed more eliciting questions and cues from their teacher to form grammatically correct patterns.
During the first three lessons, the students in all the five groups could recall 70% - 80% of the key vocabulary items and have no actual problems reproducing the sentence structures included in the texts. These structures were meant to be of or below the students’
levels because the teacher wanted the students to focus on the vocabulary items rather than
KỶ YẾU HỘI THẢO KHOA HỌC QUỐC TẾ DẠY VÀ HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ GẮN VỚI CHUYÊN NGÀNH TRONG BỐI CẢNH HỘI NHẬP QUỐC TẾ: LÍ LUẬN VÀ THỰC TIỄN
the sentence structures when they first became accustomed to the dictagloss procedure.
In the next three lessons, the students were able to recall 80%-90% of the vocabulary but had more difficulty restructuring the sentences as more complex sentences structures were introduced in the text (e.g, group 1, 2, and 5). In the last lesson which was a review lesson, all the groups managed to recall at least 85% of the vocabulary and to reproduce most of the sentence structures already presented in the semester. Only group 2 had some problems using past verb tenses.