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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The school i recently taught at taught North American pronunciation. Of course you will teach whatever pronunciation is native to you. Vietnamese definitely need major help with pronunciation which is completely different than fluency. Anyone who has taught VN students immediately knows they leave off all the ending sounds of hard consonants. They also struggle with the TH and SH sounds. Consonant clusters are a nightmare. They rarely can tell the difference between a short i or long e sound.

All that said, I've largely stopped doing dedicated pronunciation activities and exercises in my lessons. I used to do 1 hour of focused pronunciation in a 3 hour class. But after the practice all the students would always go back to their wrong speaking habits they had formed. After 2 months of this i decided to just do natural speaking and focus on conversations. I corrected their mistakes as they were made and they starting forming the correct speaking habits much more quickly. I've pretty much given up on doing dedicated pronunciation activities in class now.

The only thing I would do pronunciation activities for again would be true beginners who haven't formed any bad habits yet.
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mk87



Joined: 01 Apr 2013
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ExpatLuke wrote:
The school i recently taught at taught North American pronunciation. Of course you will teach whatever pronunciation is native to you. Vietnamese definitely need major help with pronunciation which is completely different than fluency. Anyone who has taught VN students immediately knows they leave off all the ending sounds of hard consonants. They also struggle with the TH and SH sounds. Consonant clusters are a nightmare. They rarely can tell the difference between a short i or long e sound.

All that said, I've largely stopped doing dedicated pronunciation activities and exercises in my lessons. I used to do 1 hour of focused pronunciation in a 3 hour class. But after the practice all the students would always go back to their wrong speaking habits they had formed. After 2 months of this i decided to just do natural speaking and focus on conversations. I corrected their mistakes as they were made and they starting forming the correct speaking habits much more quickly. I've pretty much given up on doing dedicated pronunciation activities in class now.

The only thing I would do pronunciation activities for again would be true beginners who haven't formed any bad habits yet.


Thats exactly what I was getting at. I have classes of students who can pronounce one word at a time perfectly...but that means nothing. What context is there where you speak one or two words at a time? (There are a few and I reckon they are probably civered by ESP)

The problem (for me) with students missing their final "s" isnt pronunciatin as such, because they can all say the word with the final s sound no problem. The problem occurs when they try to say that word in the middle of the "chaos" that is real speech. I was trying to suggest that maybe the idea of "pronunciation" is part of the problem, not trying to suggest that people dont need training on how to make the correct sounds when they speak.
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vabeckele



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mk87 wrote:
ExpatLuke wrote:
The school i recently taught at taught North American pronunciation. Of course you will teach whatever pronunciation is native to you. Vietnamese definitely need major help with pronunciation which is completely different than fluency. Anyone who has taught VN students immediately knows they leave off all the ending sounds of hard consonants. They also struggle with the TH and SH sounds. Consonant clusters are a nightmare. They rarely can tell the difference between a short i or long e sound.

All that said, I've largely stopped doing dedicated pronunciation activities and exercises in my lessons. I used to do 1 hour of focused pronunciation in a 3 hour class. But after the practice all the students would always go back to their wrong speaking habits they had formed. After 2 months of this i decided to just do natural speaking and focus on conversations. I corrected their mistakes as they were made and they starting forming the correct speaking habits much more quickly. I've pretty much given up on doing dedicated pronunciation activities in class now.

The only thing I would do pronunciation activities for again would be true beginners who haven't formed any bad habits yet.


Thats exactly what I was getting at. I have classes of students who can pronounce one word at a time perfectly...but that means nothing. What context is there where you speak one or two words at a time? (There are a few and I reckon they are probably civered by ESP)

The problem (for me) with students missing their final "s" isnt pronunciatin as such, because they can all say the word with the final s sound no problem. The problem occurs when they try to say that word in the middle of the "chaos" that is real speech. I was trying to suggest that maybe the idea of "pronunciation" is part of the problem, not trying to suggest that people dont need training on how to make the correct sounds when they speak.


This is why I don't understand our 'masters', how long does it take to learn all of these problems our students have here in VN? Quite a while. None of this is ever taken into consideration, and again, it is a lack of forward planning and thinking. Not many teachers even get to realise these problems, they have already gone.
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8balldeluxe



Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Location: vietnam

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is unwillingness to believe the teacher. Students see the western arabic alphabet being used to mean totally different kinds of sounds than we use it for. They usually don't believe that final consonant or final -s or -ed is really necessary. I've heard it said that students improve pronunciation through listening, and it's not easy to do it consciously. When our institutions do not support us, and society instills skepticism about the foreign teacher with this second class mentality, they tend to think they can pick and choose from what we say. It is not until they can actually hear it for themselves that they decide how to speak . So that's why an input based method, without speaking exercises and without group tasks is best. Students can't really learn from each other's mistakes and in pair and group no one rises above the level of the highest learner's starting point.
That being said, you could construct a whole class from nothing but pronunciation and it still wouldn't matter. Students' language proficiency will ripen when they are ready. There's not much you as the teacher can do except provide more comprehensible input and answer questions.
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8balldeluxe



Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Location: vietnam

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
One must learn to stand one's ground. If not, accept that it is just for the money and have a certain exit plan. For me, I just couldn't do it year in, year out with the knowledge of selling myself out - I can and want to do better.
One thing I have noticed is when I have said no, even though I may never work at that place again I can see it in their eyes, they lost, they know it and they give that much respect back. But... this will always cost us, never them.

Some places have become immune to this because so many teachers have stood their ground, then walked or tried to draw a line somewhere, anywhere and it didn't matter. The schools haven't gotten the message that it's for a good reason, and just gotten worse I think. Instead of learning from it they have just gotten more callous or decided foreign teachers are difficult. I think there has been little or no progress in these sorts of problems, its like a broken record.
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I'm With Stupid



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 342

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Outdated, perhaps. Do learners who take these classes display any significant improvement in their pronunciation, or in their ability to discriminate between problematic phonemes?


I remember reading Scott Thornbury citing a study on his blog claiming that students who have dedicated pronunciation instruction didn't see any significant improvement in pronunciation over those that didn't. I think the raising awareness of certain aspects of pronunciation can be useful, but I'm not sure how much practice with those aspects actually improves the pronunciation itself. It's very difficult to tell whether you students' pron is improving, because you're getting better at understanding them at the same time.

As for the OP's problem, I would simply do a conversation driven lesson where the feedback is almost exclusively on pronunciation. Come into class with a few conversation starters. Make a note of the aspects of pronunciation you might want to focus on this lesson (based on what sort of language you predict might come up) and then just go with the flow.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry. I've lost the thread of this thread. Are we saying that the 90 min pron classes are effective or not? Wouldn't want to be out of sync with the latest phonological teaching trends...
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ajc19810



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 214

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Vabeckele, it is so frustrating when this kind of stuff happens. It's no wonder there is a whole stream of teachers who just walk into a classrooms and expect their presence to be enough.

No materials and no knowledge of just how much work goes into our lesson prep and expecting you just to whip it up with probably little to no compensation. From your other posts i'm surprised you would even humor them.

I find learning and teaching pronunciation really boring and don't think i could stand a full 90 minute class of either. Especially when teachers ask you to teach 90 minutes of the small pronunciation exercises in books such as New English File.

There are a number of books at the local book shops which have complete pronunciation lessons weaved into games that suit Vietnamese learners.
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Demonietto



Joined: 19 Apr 2013
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There are a number of books at the local book shops which have complete pronunciation lessons weaved into games that suit Vietnamese learners.

Could you share a few titles? I was planning on heading to the bookstore soon to look for something for my beginner adults. I teach a couple of private students and have been working through NEF, but without the A/V supplements I think there's something better I could be using.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little and often is the oft quoted mantra for pronunciation work.

Makes sense due to the level of concentration needed to make it effective. A 90 minute class would be ineffective due to the amount of drifting in and out of focus the students and teacher would do.

These pronunciation courses are an attempt to get around the generally low skill of most teachers (NEST and non-NEST alike). They hive off all the pronunciation into a 90 minute specialist class taught by the most competent teacher they can find (at the rate of pay they will offer). Then all the other 'teachers' can just forget about this difficult area.....

I think you can do a 30-45 intensive pronunciation class and sometimes you need to in order to cover an important and quite large sub-system - but a lot of 5-15 minute activities are best to keep the students working on their pronunciation constantly.

My personal mantra is 'Every lesson is a pronunciation lesson!' Every topic/activity has a pronunciation aspect.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skarper wrote:


My personal mantra is 'Every lesson is a pronunciation lesson!' Every topic/activity has a pronunciation aspect.


That's basically what I believe as well. I don't do dedicated pronunciation activities, but I teach pronunciation every day.
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SeldomSeen



Joined: 07 Feb 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Demonietto wrote:
Quote:
There are a number of books at the local book shops which have complete pronunciation lessons weaved into games that suit Vietnamese learners.

Could you share a few titles? I was planning on heading to the bookstore soon to look for something for my beginner adults. I teach a couple of private students and have been working through NEF, but without the A/V supplements I think there's something better I could be using.


"Tree or Three" by Ann Baker - Elementary
"Ship or Sheep" by Ann Baker - Intermediate
"English Pronunciation in Use" by Jonathan Marks - Elementary to Advanced
"New Headway Pronunciation" (can't remember the author) - Elementary to Advanced
"Pronunciation Games" by Mark Hancock, Elementary to Advanced

I go along with most of the comments here that pronunciation should be part of every lesson as, after all, it is mostly a matter of practice. With the above resources though it is quite easy to produce an interesting, useful and fun 90 minute lesson or less dealing with pronunciation but with lots of speaking involved and focussing on one or two pronunciation issues. If you meet a class every day then some respond well to these classes and appreciate the change of place/learning/skills. In other words, I do both - I teach pronunciation every day and in dedicated classes.
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ajc19810



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 214

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ann Bakers stuff is what i was referring to regarding being applicable to the Vietnamese students style of learning.

While there is some debate about the usefulness of the phonetic alphabet, i have found it to be very helpful in my teaching. These types of books draw from that in a way that is entertaining and go beyond the usual boring and often not relevant tongue twister activities.

I think we need to remember that teachers on this board all have differing timetables with student contact. A teachers approach to teaching will be vastly different if they work for a mill and only get 45 mins with a class a week than if they work for "better school" and teach the whole course.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there is any debate about the usefulness of the IPA. It engenders fear in those unfamiliar but it only takes a bit of effort to learn it and use it.

This is perhaps the single most valuable but least taken up part of the CELTA.

It's not a panacea but it is an essential tool. It is even finding it's way into the books the kids use in schools recently.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Sashadroogie wrote:
Outdated, perhaps. Do learners who take these classes display any significant improvement in their pronunciation, or in their ability to discriminate between problematic phonemes?


I remember reading Scott Thornbury citing a study on his blog claiming that students who have dedicated pronunciation instruction didn't see any significant improvement in pronunciation over those that didn't.


Yes... I think this is the link to the blog...

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/p-is-for-pronunciation/

I had read that awhile ago. It's interesting stuff.
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