Start the term recording some directions!

After the August break, maybe you will have a bit more energy. Consider using some of the extra energy to record your directions in at least class. Then ask your students to transcribe what you have said. Have a student replay the recording at least three times. The student can pause, rewind and replay as others in the class request.

Remind the students not to erase anything they write but rather cross out and alter what they write after hearing the directions the second or third time. Ideally students can use a different colored pen or pencil for each draft–black for the first, blue for the first edit, pencil for the second edit.

Here are some transcriptions of a direction that a teacher gave every day for 10 days before recording it and asking the students to transcribe what she had been saying. Of course some days she said 3 or 4 rather than 2. Sometimes she said difficult rather than east. But the pattern was the same.

Twose key words other understand.

 Key words very easy understand.

Two have very easy key word.

 To the key word is the understand.

 Tou the easy key word is understand.

 To the key word is understand.

One of the few times we use language naturally is when we give directions. But if our students do are not able to hear what we are saying they cannot master the natural language.

“These two key words are easy to understand.” is what the teacher had said. Here are a few variations of the pattern that we can use:


These 5 key words are very difficult to write.

These 2 significant phrases are tough to say.

This idiom is fun to read.

The underlined words are important to remember.

What we say and what others hear is often different not only in giving directions but in all spoken messages. When you see how students mishear what you say in your directions shown by transcriptions, you know what you need to teach. No need to make, give and mark tests.

Trust you will enjoy the term after the break!



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