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does EFFECTIVE pronunciation pedagogy exist?!

 
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karmakamilleon



Joined: 11 Oct 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:23 am    Post subject: does EFFECTIVE pronunciation pedagogy exist?! Reply with quote

Hello all... I am new to this so excuse me if I make any ESL forum faux pas... Anyway, I am an undergraduate student studying TESOL and I have been fortunate enough to gain some experience teaching labs and TAing on campus at our ESL Institute. During spring of 2005 I taught a pronunciation skills lab. The general consensus of the students was that the class was useless. As a first time teacher I was worried, but my supervisor assured me that it wasn't my fault and blamed the curriculum. She told me to tell the students to take it up with the head of the department. This semester I have had two international students ask me what they can do to improve their pronunciation and much to my dismay, I had no suggestions for them. When I talked to two experience faculty member they replied, "That's a good question." I feel helpless and desperate. I have been searching for resources and my efforts have been fruitless.

Can anyone give me advice or point me in the right direction?

*I am also studying Spanish (so I understand firsthandthe struggles of L2 learners- I am one!)and in my phonetics class we did a lot of listening, repeating, and recording of our own voices. The instructor then listened to our recordings and we had to go back and make corrections. I realize that one gets out only what he or she puts into it, but I feel that this method transformed my pronunciation tremendously. Are there programs like this out there for ESL? Are they effective?
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1372
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can check this thread http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=3649 for something I wrote recently about my philosophy of teaching pronunciation.
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Don McChesney



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 11
Location: Zhengzhou

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kk, you're on the right track at the end of your post.
Tell students to listen to tapes of English, and record into a seperate recorder or computer, then do A/B and B/A listening.
Tell them how terrible anyone's voice sounds at first when they hear it, but get used to it so they don't get scared off. Let them do this time and time again, five minute recordings, and listen to the differences and correct it if they can. You can listen to the tapes at your leisure if you wish.
Tell them to put the recording away for a month, then do the same exercise again. Listen to the first and subsequent recording and be pleased how much they have improved, this is a great boost to the ego.
No quick fixes for pronunciation. Remind them that if they can be easily understood, an accent is not a problem.
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darimana



Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

check out these three documents, I think they are brilliant resources.

http://www.nceltr.mq.edu.au/pdamep/factsheets/01Pronunciation.pdf

http://www.nceltr.mq.edu.au/pdamep/factsheets/02Pronunciation.pdf

http://www.nceltr.mq.edu.au/pdamep/factsheets/03Pronunciation.pdf[url][/url]
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TEFL is hamstrung by a structuralist approach to pronunciation that doesn't work well for teaching pronunciation. Or, pronunciation is relegated to status of minor skill, something about accent adjustment.

If we treat pronunciation as applied phonology, we see phonology acquisition is integral to ALL language learning and language processing. Most of TEFL is unprepared to accept that.
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Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

If we treat pronunciation as applied phonology, we see phonology acquisition is integral to ALL language learning and language processing. Most of TEFL is unprepared to accept that.


I do agree with it, I think it's high time we approached speech production and recognition with a different thinking. I still see a lot of read-translate-write in English approaches around here, students at those courses are told they will have "conversation" classes later on, when they do, the teacher does not have even a basic knowledge on phonology, people do learn eventually, but without a doubt, much more time would be saved and a much more efficient learning would take place.

When it comes to foreign environment, when the teacher is not a native speaker, I think much recorded English should be used, either from EFL materials and/or audio/video designed for non pedagogical ends like music, interviews, pieces of TV series or films, commercials and etc, for the teacher themself wouldn't be a 'perfect' model of the spoken language.

Josť
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had a lot of success with two basic strategies:

1. Studying how the mouth makes certain sounds, and getting students to force their mouths into the proper formation. I've got a set of hand signals and whatnot for pure beginners which has been very successful.

2. Make students stop using their native language translations of sounds. This is a much larger problem than 1 above. For example, in Korea, the "Z" is often represented with the "J" sound. "J" mouth formations have nothing to do with the "Z" sound. What I say is "Forget about "ja." Z is actually closer to "s", but with more force." I have also done this with Chinese and Vietnamese speakers as well. On the first day, we go through the alphabet and I show them the relationships between sounds and letters, rather than the canonical order which tends to confuse them.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Superhal"]I've had a lot of success with two basic strategies:

1. Studying how the mouth makes certain sounds, and getting students to force their mouths into the proper formation. I've got a set of hand signals and whatnot for pure beginners which has been very successful.

2. Make students stop using their native language translations of sounds. This is a much larger problem than 1 above. For example, in Korea, the "Z" is often represented with the "J" sound. "J" mouth formations have nothing to do with the "Z" sound. What I say is "Forget about "ja." Z is actually closer to "s", but with more force." I have also done this with Chinese and Vietnamese speakers as well. On the first day, we go through the alphabet and I show them the relationships between sounds and letters, rather than the canonical order which tends to confuse them.[/quote]

It sounds very good. I agree that when you actually go to teach the concept, a 'speech therapy' approach is often the most useful (even if you don't call it that). As for the 'j' as in 'jeep' vs. 'z' as in 'zip' contrast, it's a problem for Japanese EFL learners too, especially at the end of words (and then the plural inflections become a problem). Phonetically speaking these two English sounds can tend to move toward each other, so remember, just because they seem so distinct to English speakers (and somewhat reinforced in our literacy), that distinctiveness might not be so intuitive to EFL learners. BTW, the biggest initial difference is that, in theory, the j sound is not continuous, but the z sound is. Of course, in real speech, what does a 'continuous' sound mean? That it is held longer? I doubt it, but there does seem to be more resonance to it because there is less closure, but I'm waxing subjectively here, so I'll stop.
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, the approach I'm using (which I didn't know at the time) would be closely linked to VanPatten's Input Processing theory, which states that students have naturally occuring strategies (such as first language reliance for sounds that are actually completely inaccurate) and that the role of the teacher is to force students away from their natural strategies to strategies that are effective.

However, I would imagine that this could certainly be part of a speech therapy class, but they would have different names for it.
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