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What are your belief in teaching pronunciation?

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Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 2:20 am    Post subject: What are your belief in teaching pronunciation? Reply with quote

Dear friends,

would you like sharing your belief when teaching pronunciation?
things like:

teaching aid, IPA, teaching materials, time arrangement, accent preference and modification, and so on...


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Joined: 28 Sep 2005
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's negelected, IMO. I am not talking about correction; I am referring to its focus.

Here are some of the best books on pronunciation, IMO:

This one focuses on theory, but has tons of great examples that can be used:

Teaching Pronunciation

Quick, accessible details, classroom examples, and activities; can be modified.

Pronunciation Plus
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Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. I think it's definitely under taught, especially when you consider on crucial tests such as IELTS speaking, pronunciation counts for 25% of the score. NOT teaching pronunciation is letting students down. And it can be fun, a really great way to liven up classes, I think.
Pronunciation Games is a good resource.

For some interesting thoughts on methodology and frameworks: [url][/url]
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Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately I see two extreme positions; sometimes it is overlooked in many classes and by many teachers and on the other point you may find teacher with a very inflexible attitute, the ones who don't allow any kind of variation (how many times I got corrected because I say the vowel in 'dance' like the first one in 'father' and not like 'bad').

Teaching pronunciation is not only necessary because of exams but also the feeling pupils might get (I've been studying English for five years and I can badly understand when people say 'hi', 'hello') people who say this feel in the end they wasted a lot of money, they feel discouraged and sometimes they feel like they'll never be able to function in the target language.

IPA is nice but if it is not well planned, depending on the group, can be more of harm than good. I try to use the symbols only when they show up in the book or when they get confused with some sounds, round here the pairs /ae/, /e/ and /i:/,/I/ are among the most pesky problems, in general students assume that the same sound system they have in their mother tongue will be the same in the target language, only the words and structure would be different.

Short drills seem to help, small sentences, preferencially the ones that are something to do with what is being taught in class that day.

When it comes to accent I favour British (South East) accent, but many students of mine had teachers with General American accent, so I don't interfere or try to impose the way I chose to speak English, but gradually they grasp my way of speaking.

I use English Pronunciation in Use, CUP, as a supporting material (and to sharpen my own accent.) very didatical and friendly-user in my view.

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Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1377
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm teaching a pronunciation class this semester. I wrote my own material. It includes some minimal pair practice, some pairwork, some "tongue twisters," some jazz chants, and some work with liaisons, reductions, etc.

I tell my students that it is my opinion that my class will help their listening, but as for pronunciation, it will depend on how hard they are interested in working on it. I can be the in-class guide. They can come to me after class with questions or to see if they are pronouncing something correctly. (My class is running over 40 every day, so individual work in class is limited.)

I tell them that the most important thing is whether people understand them or not. If people understand even though they have an "accent," that is the main thing. If they want to work on becoming closer to native speaker English, I'm happy to help them, but they will have to do all the work. I tell them they can practice in the bathroom with the door shut and looking in the mirror. Sometimes you can make a perfect sound, but when you see how your face looks, you might decide that's not the best way! For example, in making the /th/ sounds, it isn't necessary to stick out your tongue too far.

I also tell them that the teacher can't follow them around, so they will have to learn how to self-monitor whatever pronunciation problem they want to work on. In addition, I tell them they should try to "correct" only one thing at a time. If they try to do too much, they will be afraid to open their mouths. The students seem to like the class. I try to make it a little funny. (All the jazz chants have a punchline. Wink ) I think if you can laugh and learn, it will stick better.

In reality, if 10% of the class improves pronunciation, I will consider it a big success. If the rest improve their listening skills, I will be happy too.
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