Monday, October 23, 2017

Teaching Pronunciation to Adult Beginners

This presentation is based on an article that I wrote for the TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. Naturally, it's more complete when delivered live with explanations and examples, as well as with sound and motion, so I hope you have a chance to attend one of my live workshops. Here I offer the slides.

 Teaching English Pronunciation to Adult Beginners

Being able to pronounce clearly is a vital part of oral communication, and teachers play a pivotal role in helping learners establish good habits in both pronunciation and listening discrimination from the beginning. Investing in pronunciation instruction early can give beginners the ability and confidence to speak English clearly and launch them on their language learning journey.

Teachers may wonder how to teach pronunciation to beginners, particularly when faced with so many other objectives in the language curriculum, such as grammar, vocabulary, reading, and composition. Teachers may also lack knowledge and confidence because their training programs did not prepare them to teach pronunciation. Even if they took a course in English phonetics or phonology, what they learned may not have a direct application to what should be taught to enable students to pronounce the language well.

In this talk, I discuss focusing on English learners' spoken intelligibility over accent, the need for good pronunciation in helping a speaker become more intelligible to listeners, the devotion to perception as a means of realizing better pronunciation, the importance of balancing segmental and suprasegmental instruction, and the concept that pronunciation is a physical act such that body work deserves attention. I present some sample tasks for teaching pronunciation to beginners with regard to syllables and stress, rhythm and sentence stress, total physical response, and singing.

For the full article, please see the following:
Chan M. (2018) “Tasks for teaching pronunciation to beginners” in The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching, First Edition. Edited by John I. Liontas (Project Editor: Margo DelliCarpini; Volume Editor: MaryAnn Christison and Christel Broady), Hoboken, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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