One area of teaching which is usually given lower importance than other areas is the teaching and development of student pronunciation. Personally, it took me many years to develop my confidence and skills to teach or focus on pronunciation. Today, there are some tips on developing and improving your awareness of pronunciation.
- Learn the phonemic chart: It took a while to learn about the phonemic chart and decide to use it with my learners. I wish I had known more about it when I first started but I was more focused on other systems and skills of English. Nevertheless, I would recommend that you learn about the phonemic chart and how best to use it.
- Introduce the phonemic chart slowly: When introducing the phonemic chart to students, introduce it over a number of days or over the week. It is best to focus on vowel sounds, then consonants and then finally diphthongs. When introducing particular sounds from the phonemic chart, demonstrate the sound in pairs of particular words. You will soon improve phonemic spelling when you want to introduce a new word and your students will thank you for it.
- Buy a pronunciation book: What better to learn about pronunciation than to buy a book about the subject and decide to incorporate some of the lesson ideas into your lessons. Devote at least a mini-lesson at the end of the day on pronunciation and get students to complete some activities.
- Vary drilling techniques: Get students to repeat words, sentences or questions after you say them but try to vary it. You could get all the girls to repeat and then the boys, split up the drilling by area of room, nominated students or pairs of students to repeat utterances. This works well when focusing on intonation, stress or ellipsis.
- Mark stress or intonation on words: One area that many teachers fail to include is the marking of word/sentence stress and intonation. It doesn't take long to mark key vocabulary so don't forget, just make sure students are making a note of this in their notebooks.
I hope these small little tips and techniques for the teaching of pronunciation develop awareness and confidence. What better way to end the blog than including a wonderful teacher training session by Adrian Underhill introducing the phonemic chart. Watch this to learn which sounds are best. What are your favourite pronunciation tasks?