Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

English study dictation how to do it right

Have you ever considered dictation as a way of learning English?

Should you be using dictation when listening to a podcast to learn English?

If you have ever considered dictation, then you know that it’s all about what you can do to improve speaking English faster.

We’re going to look at what dictation can do and how it may help in speaking English more effectively.

It may be an older method, but as you will see it can help you to learn and grow faster.

Here’s a question that focuses on the subject of dictation and what it can do for you.


Dear Lindsay,

Thank you for your great podcast! As a non native English speaker, it’s enjoyable to learn new languages but it can be difficult. I love how you deliver the topics to your listeners! 

As your podcast improves listening skills, I want to know about writing down what we’re hearing. I keep writing down all of what I hear on this podcast. It’s not bad for me to find this useful, but it can be time consuming. As a result I want to ask if this is a good way to learn or should I follow a different way of learning?

Please let me know what you think of this method or what else I can do to save time and still learn in this way.


Thank you,



Dictation Is An Oldie But Goodie

The context around dictation and what you are dictating can make a difference.

People think it can be boring, but it can also be effective.

Many people and schools have moved away from classic methodologies such as dictation.

However, you should not write it off completely.

We have to pull from so many different methodologies to learn a new language.

It’s literally impossible to learn it the way that natives have learned it their entire life.


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How To Make Dictation Truly Effective

How much should you dictate?

There are parameters to help you know what and how much to dictate.

If you follow these parameters and keep these things in mind then you can make dictation truly effective.

  • Look at maximum time for learning: If it’s more than five minutes of a show then you likely aren’t learning that much. You never want to overdo it so keep dictation time to a minimum.
  • Choose a motivating podcast to begin with: It makes dictation so much easier and helps you to stay focused.
  • Look for a podcast that also has transcripts with it: This takes some of the work off of you but still allows you to learn from it.
  • Focus on things that are interesting to you: This helps you to make the most out of dictation, learn from it, stay focused, and become an independent learner too.
  • Be selective with what and how much you dictate: You can’t overdo it, so focus on key messages or topics that pertain to your life or topics that you care about.

There is no right or wrong if dictation can help, for this may help you as an individual to become a more independent and effective learner.



Find the right time of day to do dictation so that you can make the most out of it and remain focused on the material itself.

Throw unexpected things in, particularly where dictation is concerned.

Find a new way to study and be the leader in how you learn so that it remains interesting and you can still pull lessons from it.

Choose a random podcast to mix things up and you are sure to learn more and make the most out of dictation.

Keep it interesting and use dictation as one of many methods to learn English quickly and more effectively.


If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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