Ancient and modern pronunciations — страница 12

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correct mistakes immediately, they will be helping reinforce incorrect language production skills. This point of view is also reinforced by students who often expect teachers to continually correct them during class. The failure to do so will often create suspicion on the part of the students. If I don't allow students to make mistakes, I will take away from the natural learning process required to achieve competency and, eventually, fluency. Learning a language is a long process during which a learner will inevitably make many, many mistakes. In other words we take a myriad of tiny steps going from not speaking a language to being fluent in the language. In the opinion of many teachers, students who are continually corrected become inhibited and cease to participate. This

results in the exact opposite of what the teacher is trying to produce - the use of English to communicate. [17,52] 2.4 Problems of correcting students’ pronunciation Look at these statements about correction of students' oral work. What do you think? Advanced students need loads of correction, beginners hardly any. When you start to learn a language you need to be able to communicate imperfectly in lots of situations, not perfectly in a few. The teacher's job is to support learners as they blunder through a range of communicative scenarios, not badger them because they forget the third person -s. With advanced learners the opposite is usually the case. The jury is out on the question of whether correcting students, however you do it, has any positive effect on their learning.

There is some evidence, though, that time spent on correcting learners may be wasted. Research into Second Language Acquisition has suggested that it may be that some language forms can be acquired more quickly through being given special attention while others may be acquired in the learners' own time, regardless of teacher attention. This helps explain, for example, why intermediate learners usually omit third person -s just like beginners, but often form questions with do correctly, unlike beginners. There is little point correcting learners if they don’t have a fairly immediate opportunity to redo whatever they were doing and get it right. Learners need the opportunity for a proper rerun of the communication scenario in which they made the error, if they are to have any

chance of integrating the correct form into their English. Whether the error was teacher-corrected, peer-corrected or self-corrected in the first place is of relatively minor importance. Lots of learners and teachers think correction is important. Is this because it helps them to learn and teach or helps them to feel like learners and teachers? The problem with some learners is they don’t make enough mistakes. Accurate but minimal contributions in speaking activities are unlikely to benefit learning as much as inaccurate but extended participation. Learners can be hampered by their own inhibitions and attitudes to accuracy and errors, the teacher’s attitude and behaviour (conscious or unconscious) to accuracy and errors or the restricted nature of the activities proposed by

the teacher. Teachers spend too much time focussing on what students do wrong at the expense of helping them to get things right. When giving feedback to learners on their performance in speaking English, the emphasis for the teacher should be to discover what learners didn’t say and help them say that, rather than pick the bones out of what they did say. This requires the use of activities which stretch learners appropriately and the teacher listening to what learners aren’t saying. That’s difficult. [18,74] Correction slot pro-forma Here is a sample correction slot pro-forma which has been filled in with some notes that a teacher took during a fluency activity for a pre-intermediate class of Spanish students: Pronunciation I go always to cinema She have got a cat… Does

she can swim? Swimming bath my fathers “Comfortable” “Bag”– said “Back” intonation very flat (repeat some phrases with more pitch range) Bodega Ocio Yo que se I don't ever see my sister Have you seen Minority Report? Good pronunciation of AMAZING Why use this pro-forma? It helps teacher and students identify errors. It helps you as a teacher to listen and give balanced feedback. And how to use it ? It has been divided into four sections. The first two, Grammar/Vocabulary and Pronunciation, are pretty evident and are what teachers look out for as 'mistakes' in most cases. The third slot, L1, means the words that students used in their own language during the exercise. We believe that in a fluency-based activity, if a student can’t find the right word in English,