Write what you hear

Before watching the musical show Sunday afternoon at Kokugakuin Tochigi High School, I visited a classroom where the English Club had a demonstration in the cultural festival.
When I entered the classroom, a schoolgirl belonging to this club and a directing teacher welcomed me. They encouraged me to try to have the “dictation quiz,” where you listened to several short English sentences a native English speaker spoke over the audio cassette recorder and you wrote the actual words of the sentences. Its difficulty ranged from Level 1 to Level 6. Level 1 was the easiest and Level 6 the most advanced. Of course I chose Level 6 because I was proud of my 20 years of English experience.
I was guided to a desk, asked to be seated on the chair, and handed an answer sheet. Then the schoolgirl pressed the play button of the casette recorder. The cassette recorder spoke 13 short sentences like “This engine is powerful.” and “Wealthy people like to travel by ship.” These sentences was repeated twice, and I had to handwrite what I heard over the cassette recorder.
When the quiz was over, the answer sheet was collected by the teacher. He immediately checked my answers and summed up how many sentences were correctly dictated. He told me that I could write 11 out of 13 sentences accurately.
I found that to write accurately what to hear in English was not easier than that I thought. It is almost impossible to accurately hear very short words like prepositions, so it’s important for dictation that you “predict” those words with all of your knowledge on English. If you can predict missing words and write entire sentences with what you hear, it proves that you can comprehend the sentences.

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