HELP! I'm starting to teach pronunciation, but I'm a newbie!

<b>Forum for ideas on how to teach pronunciation </b>

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HELP! I'm starting to teach pronunciation, but I'm a newbie!

Post by jc1762 » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:05 pm


I've recently been trying to help write a new pronunciation curriculum for my school and I've been running into some problems.

I've been online just trying to find stuff to deal with students. Some of the main problems are this:

1. Short amount of time (10 classes per student, each 1.5 hours long, one student only)
2. To separate the different areas of pronunciation in order of importance. ie. what should I teach first and what areas are optional

I'm mostly teaching Korean students. I've looked up a bunch of stuff to teach the common problems such as p, f, v, b, r, and l.

However, I'm also looking into other things such as suprasegmentals, linking words, and the phonetic alphabet.

Now I definetely won't be able to teach all this in only 10 classes. Does anyone have an effective lesson plan they would mind sharing? Or possibly some pointers to what I'm doing wrong or right?

I know it's alot to digest, but any and all is greatly appreciated.

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Post by Lorikeet » Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:27 am

Are you teaching American, Australian, British, Canadian, etc English?

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Post by jc1762 » Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:31 am

I'll be teaching Canadian. But American is fine also.

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How to help the students...

Post by eslweb » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:07 pm

When I did this kind of thing before, I went through the following procedure:

1. In the first hour introduce IPA and go through the sounds of the language and from there you can diagnose any that are giving them difficulties. Then you can select exercises for those particular problems. (I used the sheet on my site to allow me to do it.)

2. I used lots of roleplays to help them in real situations.

3. Once they have mastered most of the basics introduce Word Stress and intonation. They will find this pretty challenging, but it will not only help their speaking, but their listening too.

I've got some resources on my site to help:
(They're British English, but they may give you some ideas.)

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Post by EH » Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:51 am

That amount of time is just about perfect, actually.

PM me. I work almost exclusively with Koreans. I can email you some worksheets I use for linking sounds between words/syllables.

Most adult Koreans have a passing familiarity with the IPA. It isn't necessary to spend much time on it.

Even among Koreans, each student will have individual pronunciation needs. If the classes are 1-on-1 then the curriculum should be individualized. Some people really need /p/ vs. /f/, but others don't, for example.

I find that almost everyone needs /r, l/, /i, I/ and /ou, short o/ (sorry.. I can't type IPA on this computer). /ae, E/ and /u, U/ are also a common need, especially /U/ after /w/ (would, woman, etc.). /f, p, v, b, voiced & unvoiced th/ are common needs, but don't impact intelligibility all that much and are relatively easy for students to learn even without help; I only focus on those if students need an easy lesson to boost their confidence. For more advanced students, /thr/ (and really any r or l consonant cluster) and voiced vs unvoiced wordfinal consonants (dog vs dock, hiss vs his, etc.) are good lessons.

It's also useful to add minilessons on articles (a, an, the), past tense -ed, third person singular -s, plural -s, and gender pronouns (he vs she). These are not strict pronunciation topics but mastering them can greatly reduce communication breakdowns.

Good luck!

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Post by EngliPatrick » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:28 am

I have about 10 lessons up over on my site. These lessons are geared toward Japanese students but you could easily change them over to be Korean-specific.

Here's the link:

And EH, I'm still working on your 'R & L' page. I just finished giving two seminars on Phonics so my time has freed up a little to work on it. I'll let you know when I finish.

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Post by melichan857 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:38 pm

That Englipedia site's great! Just added it to my custom search tool.


Mel's ESL Megasearch - search 100's of ESL websites simultaneously

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Post by alexcase » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:53 am

Another way to organise it, especially with younger or less motivated students, or those who have been put off pronunciation by another teacher, is to base your syllabus around the things that are fun and include a lot of other skills such as free speaking. I based a whole specialist course around the book Pronunciation Games with a little help from the Headway pronunciation books, some songs and my own ideas such as competing to sound the most surprised, polite etc.

TEFLtastic blog-
Last edited by alexcase on Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Teaching Pronunciation

Post by HeatherC » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:21 pm

I do something similar to eslweb. If the students are advanced speakers I'll start with IPA.

Day 1- IPA Consonants 1
Day 2 - IPA Consonants 2 (focus on the ones they have trouble with)
Day 3 - IPA Vowels

During all three days I'll basic homework in transcription, focusing on sounds that my students have difficulty with.

I'll stick with the pattern of using activities and role to practice, and the moving on to word stress and intonation.

It's better to focus on a few key areas than to try and cram too much in, as I have found students can become frustrated if they are working on many aspects of pronunciation at the same time.

Students really need to practice on their own as well. Here are some good sites that have free exercises and activities for both teachers and learners:

Resources for Teaching and Learning English Pronunciation ... html?cat=4

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Teaching pronunciation

Post by cavez33 » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:40 pm

What I use to teach pronunciation is tongue twisters and reading activities. While reading, the students have the correct words but sometimes a wrong pronunciation, so it is easy to give feedback. Also, when ask my students to read tongue twisters, it makes them practice sounds that they have difficulties to pronounce and so they can focus on their difficulties!

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Post by teacher5159 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:13 pm

I've always found minimal pair activities useful for allowing students to hear the differences in difficult-to-distinguish phonemes. Once they can hear the difference, they're much more likely to be able to pronounce it.

You can make them on my website for free Free Minimal Pair Listening Tree

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