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Teaching Pronunciation

Competency: To be able to help students improve their pronunciation.

Note: Native-like pronunciation is difficult for most adult learners to achieve in a second language. The achievement of it requires not only skilled teaching but a high level of internal motivation on the part of the student. Most adults are satisfied with reasonably intelligible speech in the second language and this is an acceptable goal for the ESL teacher. This means that you need not concern yourself with correcting all the pronunciation errors you hear. Indeed this would do more harm than good. Your first goal should be to give assistance during the regular speaking lesson to students who are having difficulty with particular sounds. The particular sounds that students will find difficult will differ for different language backgrounds.

Teaching: (To be applied whenever appropriate)

Step 1: You have begun teaching the dialog.

When you notice that a student has difficulty producing a particular word, stop and isolate the word.

Step 2: Pronounce the word by itself and have the class repeat.

If the word is still too difficult, isolate the syllable that seems to create the most difficult.

Step 3: Pronounce the syllable by itself and students repeat until they can say it easily.

Step 4: Add additional syllables one at a time until the students can pronounce the word.

Step 5: Pronounce the phrase or sentence again and have students repeat until they can say the word in context.

Step 6: Have original student repeat sentence.


Step 1:

Teacher -- Do you have any children?

Student -- Do you have any __________.

Step 2:

Teacher -- Children

Class -- Chi_____.

(Students mispronounce the 2nd syllable.)

Step 3:

(Teacher isolates the problem syllable and has students repeat it.)

Teacher -- _____dren.

Class -- _____dren.

Step 4:

Teacher -- Children.

Class -- Children.

Step 5:

Teacher -- Do you have any children?

Class -- Do you have any children?

Step 6:

Teacher -- Do you have any children?

Student -- Do you have any children?