Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

communicative approach to pronunciation

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Pronunciation
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Volga_05



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Greater Manchester

PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: communicative approach to pronunciation Reply with quote

Hi everybody,

I was wonderning if anybody'd been teaching pronunciation in a comunicative way recently (i.e. NOT drilling, memorizing, transcribing but focusing on a non-linguistic element in game-like activities)? Could you share your experience? ANY ideas are most welcome.

Secondly, has anybody taught phonemic symbols. How did you do it? If you don't do it, why not?

Thanks a lot
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
eslweb



Joined: 31 May 2006
Posts: 208
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:04 am    Post subject: Teaching pronunciation Reply with quote

In answer to your question, yes I teach pronunciation in a communicative way... Quite often I start with a topic to discuss and give the students conversation practice and if I discover common errors I use the feedback to correct it and use drilling if they're having difficulty with particular phrases / words. I don't think drilling in itself is uncommunicative, its the exercises that go with it and the way its conducted that makes it communicative or not.

With regards to the IPA, I do teach it, because its a nice angle to practice pronunciation of the individual phonemes. Also the British dictionaries uses it quite extensively, so it is a good way to help them self-study, because it helps them to understand the basic pronunciation. It also reminds them that English is NOT a phonetic language.

I've got a couple of Webpages that I made, that can help:

Pronunciation page and IPA
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Volga_05



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Greater Manchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THanks a lot for your reply. Could you describe one or two activities, pls
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
eslweb



Joined: 31 May 2006
Posts: 208
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:18 pm    Post subject: Teaching pronunciation Reply with quote

Normally, I don't teach pronunciation on its own, but either before a reading exercise or after a speaking exercise.

For example, if I'm going to do a reading exercise and I know there is new vocabulary I would use a "say before see" approach. I give clues as to what the word is and if the students can say the word, then that's ok... If they really, don't know the word then I would clearly say it and drill it. Then when they read the passage they know how the word sounds. (A lot of research suggests that people learn words the first way they encounter them.)

If I am doing a speaking lesson. Perhaps, I've given them a situation to discuss, then I'd listen to the speaking and make a note of words that they mis-pronounce. During feedback, I'd drill the words so that all the students can pronounce them effectively.

The best way to teach effective pronunciation, particularly intonation is through drama. i.e. use intonation to change emotions and moods...

With regards to IPA, I generally use a CD produced by the British Council and go through the phonemes 1 by 1. Its not particularly communicative when done on it's own, but as a standalone lesson it is interesting for the students particularly when you play-act along to the more interesting phonemes... i.e. Make fun sound effects with the phonemes in question. Also on my website are a lot of fun tongue twisters. http://www.jamesabela.co.uk/beginner/Pronunciation.html

There's a lot of material around the Websites and probably the most proactive in this area is the BC and they have a Website called: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/

One lesson I like, is right here at: http://www.eslcafe.com/idea/index.cgi?display:990687901-7981.txt

There's also a nice lesson on Bogglesworld: http://bogglesworldesl.com/askthomas_intonation.htm

When I do get a few free moments, I will add activities to my Website:
http://www.jamesabela.co.uk

Well I hope that helps, if you've got more specifics, just ask...

James
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
damon@English24/7



Joined: 26 Aug 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is at heart drilling but I wrote some pronunciation silly songs and non-sense songs to give the students in the Japanese kindergarten that I worked at a head-start with the sounds that Japanese people have problems with. Since meaning isn`t important they are pretty easy to adapt for localised needs.

Damon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
clio.gr



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 58
Location: ATHENS-GREECE

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well another nice idea is to use authentic material.

TV shows, cartoons, radio programs, songs etc.

When talking about communication and interaction the teacher should not form the only example of an English speaker.

I loved the idea of the dictionary. I use it myself (esp. with Greek students who are used to the traditional approach) and it works miracles not only with pronunciation.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harmony



Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:04 pm    Post subject: Communicative pronunciation Reply with quote

Hello fellow posters:

In my experience there are many fun games and activities that are great for sound awareness including matching sound dominoes, phonetic mazes, bingo, etc. (there is a great resource by Oxford called Pronunciation Games that is filled with these and grants copy priviledges). As far as being comunicative, any language that is used which has these sounds in a listening activity, songs, etc. is communicative and we can ask students to pay attention to or try to notice the sounds in the song, or listening that we wish them to become aware of. I have not found any of these things to be of particularly much help for the students to make the sounds in question for themselves, however.

Like it or not, to get students to actually make the sounds they are challenged by we have to help them to become aware of and use specific muscles (the tongue and lips) in particular ways that they are not used to. This need not, however, be reduced to "drilling", nor does it end up being no fun. I've found teaching students how to correctly pronounce words to be great fun and they enjoy figuring it out too.

Simply asking them to repeat after you, however, is not particularly useful because it most often results in highlighting their inability over and over. Drawing a picture of the human mouth in profile and showing them where the toung needs to be works. If I am able to mimick the sound they are making and figure out what they are doing, I can often start from there and ask them to make changes to their tounge shape or location. Many times students are able to make a sound well in isolation, but lose their ability when other sounds come before or after it. Starting with the sound in isolation and then adding the other parts of the word with a pause between each sound that gradually shortens until they finally say the entire word correctly works. All of this, again, has been quite fun because they are making sounds that to their ears sound funny and seeing each other make funny faces and sounds and so they tend to laugh a lot. This assumes that a proper atmosphere of safety and good will is already in place, though. When it becomes no fun is when they are making no progress. From my experience, this is more usually a result of me not knowing how to show or assist them than thier inability to do it, but there are always those moments when things aren't working. When this occurs, I move on and come back to it later -hopefully with a fresh approach and better results.

Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
clio.gr



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 58
Location: ATHENS-GREECE

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody says that you don't give them feedback or use traditional methods whenever it is neccessary, but I am sorry only listenting to drills and songs ends up in having non native speakers who speak funny.

Even in more advanced classes, in the listening exercises we hear well trained actors who speak slowly and so clearly that it seems unnatural (sth. that never happens in reality unless you have a person with special needs in front of you or maybe a 3month old baby).

Moreover, there is no 'one' English pronunciation. Do the Americans, the British. the Australians, the Irish, the Scottish, the British upper class compared to the lower classes etc speak or even intonate the same? How is "tomatoe" pronounced, /tomeito/ or /tomaeto/? (ae is the shwa sound because i can't find it on my keyboard, sorry)

Moreover, is it neccessary for a Greek to sound like a Londoner? What for? If he can understand and be understood why is it crucial to sound like the British or the Americans do and not like a Greek who speaks English very well? It is proven that a non native cannot sound like a native.

Why are they learning English? To get a diploma or to communicate? Why does anyone need English in his/her job? To show the boss that he/she is skillful or to communicate globally? Does anyone use his knowledge of English only to get a job in the age of technology and the inernet?

And if communication is our goal why should some rules and positions of the tongue should encourage anyone to learn English? And wouldn't it be useful that the learner should be exposed to as many native

Of course we correct big mistakes and we demonstrate the correct way (remember communication is our goal) but I think that whoever says that authentich material don't work, I am sorry but he/she has never used them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harmony



Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:00 pm    Post subject: accent vs unintelligible Reply with quote

Hi Clio:

I feel you made some great points in your post. I totally agree that there is not one pronunciation that is acceptable and feel that our field is becoming more and more aware of this. Where I work now in Oman, for instance, there are teachers from the US, UK, Canada, South America, India, Sri Lanka, Oman, Egypt, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and other places and all of them have different accents and our students are exposed to all of them because modern EFL language teaching is no longer about following the standards of one group who profess to be the "central" or "correct" one. In order to function well in the modern world with English as an international language, it is of great benefit to be able to understand people with different accents. Nothing is more charming, in my opinion, than English with a Russian, Greek, Arabic, or Japanese accent.

Having said that, however, I feel that there is a difference between accented speech which allows for communication and speech that becomes unitelligible. Some of the Vietnamese refugees that I have taught in the US are a prime example. Many of those students would speak in such a way that even veteran ESL teachers with years of exposure to a variety of accents were unable to understand them. In such cases, I feel that I am not doing my job if I do not assist them. I am aware, furthermore, of the power imbalance that they face and the attitudes, particularly in the US where very few people ever bother to learn a second language, people confront them with. The immediate reality faced by these students, however, is that they need to get a job and their chances of having a higher wage decrease dramatically when their bosses and co-workers have no clue what they are saying. Even here in Oman where most of the people in the country speak some English there are things which cause confusion and impede comprehension and will reduce their educational and employment opportunities if they are not remedied as the best universities teach in English and the best employers use English. Many students, for example, will say "villig" insteage of "village" where the g is pronounced like a j. There is also a problem with a distinction between p and b. Such a distinction does not exist in the Arabic language, but in English this distinction differentiates many words. There are many other issues. Perhaps if they existed in isolation it would be no problem, but when they are piled together into many words of a given sentence...unintelligibility -even for a liberal Greek- is the result.

"Of course we correct big mistakes and we demonstrate the correct way (remember communication is our goal) but I think that whoever says that authentich material don't work, I am sorry but he/she has never used them."

Certainly I have nothing against using authentic materials and I agree that some speakers can end up sounding ridiculous if only exposed to songs or plays. My point on this issue, however, in not that we shouldn't use authentic materials, but only that my observation has been that I can expose them to authentic materials and songs, and dialogues and TV shows ad infinitum, but at the end of the day, none of it seems to make a dent in what comes out of their mouths. When you "correct big mistakes", for example, is it the authentic material that helps them, or is it you, showing them directly how to do it and helping them to make the needed changes that results in progress? Most European languages, furthermore, have many similarities to English and I can say that the accents from European languages tend not to be difficult for English speakers -even less tolerant ones- to understand and when I work with European learners, I seldom spend too much time with pronunciation unless they ask for it -which many do when they encounter a teacher who can actually teach it. With most of the Korean business men I worked with in Hawaii, on the other hand, pronunciation played a crucial role in every lesson because these guys knew lots of words and had basic grammatical structures, you just coudn't understand the words that were coming out of their mouths! Again, the only time I seem to make any real progress with these students is when we get down to the nitty gritty of how to use speech organs to produce sounds. If there is a way to achieve this kind of progress that does not utilize such techniques and practices, I have yet to discover it and it is not because I haven't looked. But again, it's fun!

Of course the purpose for the learning of the students and their needs and desires are important and people who just want to be able to communicate and are not looking for jobs or entrance into universities have different needs.

Another issue is that many non-native speakers can be marginalized by native speakers with what -in my opinion- is not a productive attitude towards pronunciation. What I mean is that many of them frown upon somone from say France with an obvious French accent from teaching pronunciation. I think you are right on target with the idea that it has to do with communication. Is it an accent that can be understood? If so, then carry on. When I was in Japan, I co-taught with one Japanese teacher who spoke English with a distinct Japanese accent who focussed a lot on pronunciation, but his pronunciation was intelligible so it was a huge improvement upon what the students would produce without his assistance. So basically what I am trying to say here is that even non-native speakers can use mouth diagrams and an awareness of what their own speech organs are doing as an example, even if they do not have native-like pronunciation according to the standards of a Brit or an American. If you are understandable and they speak like you, then they will be understandable too.

But how much is enough and how much is too much? I think that this is an important question. For my own part, I feel that the native English speakers in many countries ought to be much more receptive to varieties in English than they are now.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
clio.gr



Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 58
Location: ATHENS-GREECE

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harmony hi,

i don't think you understand that of course we should facilitate communication. I am not against using such methods as demonstration or giving rules to students. In some point during the lesson you use whatever seems useful to make things going. What kind of lesson planning are you using. If you see even TBL lesson plans are including some traditional teaching too.

Of course if they get something wrong I am obliged to show what is the correct way to say sth. I give feedback and support constantly. I give a little time to traditional teaching too but even my 'traditional' exercises are close to be communicative.

For example I don't say "Fill in the blanks" but "Oh! I spilt coffee on this article! Can you help me find the words that are missing?"

Of course they can discover the rule with the help of the authentic material and some guidance from me.

i know someone who has taken the CPE and the ECPE by listening to rock music and never reading the subtitles in English films, She has never attended a single English class but she is a fluent speaker.

You say that some peopleare not understood when they speak. Please do me a favour and ask them how they were taught.

it is frastrating (sorry for the use of the adjective) to say that non native speakers should copy native accents because of racism. It is not my or your problem if some people are so stupid to judge the book from the cover. So you need in your classes sth. that builds character and the communicative approach offers that too. They learn how to learn, they learn to cooperate, they learn about other civilizations, they learn the differences and the similarities of other cultures and they have a role in their learning process and of course they get metacognitive skills that enables them even as adults to do what Socrates says "I get older by constantly learning new things'. And of course nowadays educators are trying to boost autonomy, student's autonomy in learning. This is the big challenge we face in modern language classrooms.

I have experienced what traditional teaching does to children. They learn what is necessary fot the tests and the exams and then ..... pouf .... everything is gone. People forget whatever doesn't interests them.

I don't believe that the results of the communicative approach are measured only at the end of the day. What method of assessment are you using?

I am sorry but what you are suggesting hasn't worked in Greece and i think the communicative approach is working so far in Skandinavia and in Western Europe (please any colleague from these countries correct me if I am wrong). In Sweden, at the beginning of the 20th century, the children were sitting in a circle to enable communication.

I don't think that an elementary student or even a teenager will be convinced to learn English because he/she can find a good job in the future. They are too young and restless to show interest for a good job and what is more even if they give me a dictionary and a good grammar book, I will never learn speak Russian fluently.

i don't understand what is the connection between a libelar and a communicative ESL teacher. I am sorry but do you think that all communicative teachers are liberals too? What does it have to do with an approach that exists and has good results for so many years?

The reality has shown that they learn to speak English more effectively when communicative approaches are used. Even you are describing communicative problems in your long paragraph.

Oh English speaking people don't bother to learn a second language because they can communicate whatever the environment or so they think and because they were finding traditional teaching so boring to bother to pay attention...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
harmony



Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 34
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply. I enjoy sending ideas back and forth. Clearly my message needs polishing and this is a great help. Smile

Somehow, it seems that because I use and agree with certain teaching techniques that require what I myself have termed "tounge awareness" with pronunciation I have become a "traditional approach" teacher who is against communicative learning. But this is not true.

Both my graduate and undergraduate studies were steeped in communicative practices and theories. The first few years of my teaching, furthermore, were almost entirely communicative based. What I realized after a few years, however, was that, although there were exceptions, my classes had great energy, atmosphere, enabled communication, cultural exchange, but did not result in accuracy. "I go store" communicates quite well, for example, but it doesn't impress the manager of Target (a retailer in the US who hires refugees). So, I began to explore with many techniques and discovered a number of them that turn out to be highly effective for fast and lasting results. Among these are ones that have been labled "traditional" because they share some elements of what used to be done, but all of them are actually a combination of techniques and the ones that work best for me have to do with generating student awareness more than anything else and, in this way, are more similar to Buddhism than traditional approaches.

The way I see it is that there are two aspects of language use in terms of speaking and writing: fluency and accuracy and both of them are important. Therefore, my classes spend time with both approaches and I tell my students what the purpose of an activity is before we go into it (this is an activity where I want you to forget about grammar and perfection and simply talk in English freely to communicate as much as possible -I give examples and we develop this skill -because it is a skill- over time, or The purpose of this activity is to help you becpome aware of the differences between your speech and that of a native speaker and to help you to make any changes that you feel will bring you closer to your speaking goals). When I use some of the techniques I have discovered that work to help students become aware of their grammar for themselves, and recycle that experience several times I find that the result is far better than "traditional grammar apporaches with PPP where, I agree, they generally forget whatever it was, or even communicative apporaches where they generally lack awareness of the language so that they keep making the same mistake unconsciously. These results are obvious and measurable and easily tested. I know that it has worked, for instance, if I ask a student, "What did you do over the weekend?" and she says, "I visited my aunt and we played cards. Then I relaxed at home and read a book." with perfect grammar and good pronunciation. I find it much preferable to something like "I went aunt and cards play." But this is not to say that every moment or utterance is held to high standards of correctness. Again I do both and I let the students know which is which. In this way we honour the creative and communicative aspect of language as well as the formative one.

Although we clearly have some differences, I feel that actually we share much in common in our thinking and ideas. I am a natural reformer and am actively seeking ways to change what is going on in our schools and how we approach education. I agree with the observation you have made of the restlessness of youth and that a promise of a good job doesn't motivate them. There are a large number of issues that educators face when confronting youth and much of them, I believe, are found in the entire top down this is what you need to learn because I said so approach that does not allow for human variation, creativity, self awareness or freedom.

Part of our challenging in communicating, I suspect, is that I am discussing a totally different group of learners. University students in Oman who are priviledged enough to get into the place where I teach, believe it or not, are very motivated though their idea of hard work is far from what western civilization has become accostomed to (which is probably a good thing because we tend to work ourselves to death -literally). Rufugees in America who have children and need to support them and have come from war torn places where they were faced by death, oppression and starvation are very motivated to get a good job.

Additionally, different cultural traditions have different expectations and attitudes about what learning and teaching is and, even with a great technique, if it goes against what the students believe, there will be much trouble. Have you ever taught any Russians? More than any other group, I have found that Russians respond magnificently to grammar. They love grammar, ask for, remember it, and use it well, quickly. I'm not trying to create a stereotype here, but every Russian student I have taught has asked for and about grammar and seems to respond very well to it. What I have found is that, rather then getting them to forget about grammar and just be communicative, I do well to honor and tap into the flow of energy that they have placed in grammar and then use it, along with other techniques.

"You say that some people are not understood when they speak. Please do me a favour and ask them how they were taught."

Most of the people who are not understood were either not taught at all, or were taught by other people who couldn't be understood. I have had, however, many people who began getting language teaching from another teacher in the school who doesn't really know how to teach pronunciation who enter my class unintelligible and leave it having made great progress. This includes people who came from what has been called "communicative classes". This goes back to my original point. In terms of pronunciation, authentic materials are great for sound awareness in terms of recognition. For speaking, however, the only authentic material that exists is the human voice and if we don't use that and develop it, progress will not occur at the level it could were we using it. I don't really see how anyone could deny this. I used to be into tennis and watched a lot of tennis on TV. I know that this helped me a lot. The greatest learning, however, always ocurred when I picked up the racket and started using it because this is the truly authentic moment for speech production -the moment of use. My technique here is really just common sense. If I see a student who is holding the racket in the wrong way, I point it out and show them how to hold it. Then when they swing the next time, the ball goes over the net. They smile, I smile. It works. Call it whatever you want. Many communicative teachers will say, wait, don't interupt the flow of conversation, let it come naturally. Naturally, the ball goes into the net and play stops. Over time, however, it is true, the learner, if properly motivated, will likely begin to get it over the net. But I know from experience that a little bit of coaching will bring them there 10 times faster. But a little coaching need not become all that occurs. Allow the students time to experiment and play with the ball, then provide them with some intensive one on one instruction, watch them soar.

"I am sorry but what you are suggesting hasn't worked in Greece and i think the communicative approach is working so far in Skandinavia and in Western Europe (please any colleague from these countries correct me if I am wrong). In Sweden, at the beginning of the 20th century, the children were sitting in a circle to enable communication. "

In all honesty, I don't believe you understand what I am suggesting and therefore highly doubt you have ever really tried it out yourself, not to mention the greater Greek population of teachers. You seem to be stuck in an either or point of view. I am coming from a both and perspective. I feel it is much more import to look at what works and experiment with everything rather stick to one set of ideas. And again, as you yourself have stated, I am communicative. Communicative methods are very important. I just don't find them to be the be all and end all of what we can accomplish, nor do I think that to espouse them requires a total rejection of everything else. And again, this is particularly in terms of accuracy in pronunciation and grammar. When fluency and meaning are being discussed, I am communicative hands down. There is also a fundamental difference between adolescents and adults. Over all, adolescents do tend to pick up more implicitly then adults in my experience and I am aware that more of my practice has been with adults than children and that this experiences highlights the need for some focus on form.

"I don't understand what is the connection between a libelar and a communicative ESL teacher. I am sorry but do you think that all communicative teachers are liberals too? "

By liberal here I was not referring to your political orientation, but to your indicated acceptance of imperfect pronunciation. In this meaning an "our way of pronouncing is the only way" teacher from the UK would be "right wing" and a teacher -like yourself- who believes that it is OK to have an accent and that the point is communication, would be "liberal".

"What does it have to do with an approach that exists and has good results for so many years?"

Have you read any of the research? An overall assessment will reveal quite a mixed bag. If we want to believe in it we can find evidence to support it. If we want to disbelieve in it, when can find evidence to discount it. I have found that the truth usually rests somewhere in the middle. There is an articles in TESOL Quaterly's 40 years anniversary issue entitled: "TESOL Methods: Changing Tracks, Challenging Trends" on p. 59 that I like, not because it discounts CLT, which it doesn't, but because it puts it in a broader perspective and encourages us to keep looking further.

But I do feel that I agree with many of your ideas and am glad that you are out there doing what you are doing! I also appreciate the chance to communicate. I suspect that what I am trying to say is not always very clear and this helps me. Thanks Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Pronunciation All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group