Integrating pronunciation into your classes

As we get back into the swing of things this new school year we look back at our three part series on an area which can be problematic for teachers and students alike.

pronunciation cloud

Part One: The Basics

Pronunciation.  It’s often the area most avoided by new teachers for lack of confidence, and also the first thing experienced teachers leave out due to lack of time and a desire to get on with the “meatier” issues of vocabulary, grammar and skills work.  But like it or not our students are aware of the importance of pronunciation and will expect us to work on it with them, so getting comfortable with it and finding the time should be one of our priorities as teachers.

The following is the first part in a three-part series outlining some basic tips for successfully integrating pronunciation in your classes.

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Integrating pronunciation into your classes: Part 3

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Part Three: A top-down approach

There are many ingredients to good pronunciation in English.  In my last post on the subject I focused on individual, discrete sounds and their importance for our learners, but the thing that strikes me most when I hear a non-native speaker of English with good pronunciation is the rhythm and overall delivery of the chunks of language they use, not individual words per se.  As a native speaker, if I hear a familiar pattern my ear can naturally pick out information which is being packaged in a way that makes sense to me.  If some of the individual sounds are difficult to discern this is unlikely to affect my understanding to any great degree.

The importance of stress-timing

And I’m being quite literal when I talk about packaging language into meaningful chunks.  Let’s see why this is and why one of the most important things we can do to help our students with pronunciation is to draw their attention to the phenomenon of stress-timing.  Here’s a nice activity someone showed me years ago to introduce this at the beginning of a course.  I don’t remember who exactly (my apologies) but I’ve never forgotten it.

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Integrating pronunciation into your classes

pronunciation cloud

Part One: The Basics

Pronunciation.  It’s often the area most avoided by new teachers for lack of confidence, and also the first thing experienced teachers leave out due to lack of time and a desire to get on with the “meatier” issues of vocabulary, grammar and skills work.  But like it or not our students are aware of the importance of pronunciation and will expect us to work on it with them, so getting comfortable with it and finding the time should be one of our priorities as teachers.

The following is the first part in a three-part series outlining some basic tips for successfully integrating pronunciation in your classes.

Continue reading