Ancient and modern pronunciations — страница 8

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a hopeless situation. Basically, after trying something several times and consistently being unable to get a positive result, we shut down. We stop trying. If students are getting negative feedback on their English skills, especially pronunciation, and if they try to improve but feel they haven't, then they stop trying. You might think they are being lazy, but in fact they simply don't believe they can improve. They have already given up. Luckily, once it is recognized, the fix is pretty easy: stay positive, praise frequently and specifically, and periodically tape students speaking so that they can hear the difference after a few months. If you can coax even a little progress out of a student, then tell the student exactly what they just did right (For example: The difference

between your short /a/ and short /e/ were really clear that time! Let's do it again!). Tape the students reading or reciting a passage at the beginning of the year, then tape the same passage every couple of months. Play the tapes for you student and let them hear how much they have improved over the course of a few months. They will probably impress themselves, and you! Finally, the question of cultural identity has to be dealt with. Students that don't want to be assimilated into an English speaking society aren't going to give up the things that mark them as different. An accent is a clear message about one's roots and history, and many people may be unwilling to completely give it up. As teachers, we need to ensure that students' can be easily understood by others, but we

don't have to strive for some hypothetical Standard English pronunciation. In fact, we should highlight for our class that after a certain point, accents don't matter much at all. Some fun activities that can help your students become more sensitive to the subject of accents are doing impersonations, listening to native regional accents and teaching you a phrase in their own language. [10,58] Impersonations can be done as a class. Students can impersonate famous people, like John Wayne or Nicholas Cage, or they can impersonate teachers – always a fun activity! The idea is to have them take on a whole different identity and try out the pronunciation that goes with it. Often, your students will produce the best English pronunciation of their lives when impersonating someone else.

Be sure to tape them for this as well, since it proves that they can use English pronunciation in a conversation or monologue. 2. Correcting learners’ pronunciation mistakes I had many students who have obtained an amazing vocabulary and whose grammar is the envy of other students. It is just too bad that no one can understand what they are saying. As an ESL teacher, your first priority is to help your students develop their pronunciation skills. Without proper pronunciation, other aspects of English such as vocabulary and grammar become useless if a student cannot be understood when he uses the language. While pronunciation is the most important component of any ESL class, it is usually also the least interesting in the eyes of the students. Here are some tips to help you make

the most out of teaching pronunciation to your ESL students: –Never be shy to correct your students’ pronunciation in class. Wait until the student has completed the thought and then ask the class to repeat words that you think were not pronounced properly. Never interrupt a student in mid sentence. –When you are teaching an ESL class about a particular topic, always spend at least 10 minutes teaching the pronunciation of new vocabulary words to students. As they use the vocabulary words, correct pronunciation as necessary. –Use fun methods to teach pronunciation. One such method is by using a stick (or some kind of pointer) to point at each word. When you point, the students should repeat the word. If you don’t point, there should be complete silence. There will always

be a student or two who will still say the word after you have pointed three or four times and suddenly stop. You can make a competition to see who is paying attention. Divide the classroom into five teams and give each team pictures of the vocabulary words or actual objects if they are available. When you call a word, the team that is responsible for that word should stand up and say the word in unison. As the game progresses, you can try to trick the teams by saying a vocabulary word but pointing at a team that is not responsible for the word. You can grade each team (using stars on the board) based on how every team member reacts, loudness, and togetherness. –Always focus both on the group and invididuals when practing pronunciation. Having the group repeat after you is