UPDATING DICTATION: CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE PORTFOLIO

M.C. Arau Ribeiro

Polytechnic of Guarda (PORTUGAL)
Considered a "classical method", alternately celebrated and derived for its use in the modern language classroom, this paper will present dictation as a necessary tool for its contribution to both assessment and learning, from the perspective of the teacher and that of the learner. Based on the negative judgment levied on dictation by one school of researchers, the psychometric-structuralist conclusions of inadequacy and inferiority of this measure have permeated the teaching profession despite more current research to the contrary. More contemporary research sheds further light on difficulties involved in grading dictation while the results of this study conclusively demonstrate that, for the learner, appropriate dictation develops learner awareness and leads to confidence, while for the teacher dictations provide valuable insights into individual students' metalinguistic strategies and development, thus constituting a practicable language portfolio activity. Self-reporting methodology, honed throughout a semester of two different English courses - a Business English class for Executive Secretarial Studies students and another ESP course for Marketing and Management students - suppports the present research, allied with the results of their first and final tests.