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How to Teach Pronunciation: Getting Started

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We asked hundreds of ESL/EFL teachers, "If I could wave a magic wand and fix one thing to help you teach Pronunciation - what would it be?" The number one answer was - How do I start? I created a webinar to answer this great question (link to recording of the webinar and these are the slides from that webinar.

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How to Teach Pronunciation: Getting Started

  1. 1. Virgin Webinar by Judy Thompson Saturday December 12, 2015 12:00 EST (Toronto time)
  2. 2. Agenda  Three Introductions: Me, You, Pronunciation  The Teaching Model today and always: Lesson, Exercises, Transformation – how to get learners using what they’ve studied in real life  Lesson: Begin at the Beginning – individual sounds  An empowering approach I use for teaching speaking - You know this already or how to avoid teaching learners what they already know (boring them)  Links to resources
  3. 3. Judy Thompson  I graduated from University with a BA in English  Married, four children and lived on a horse farm  Divorced, children to school and I became an ESL teacher  Manuel story changed everything  Developed my system and started my company  TEDx , Radical Teachers, teach English around the world  Webinars!!!
  4. 4. Participants Teachers participate for different reasons:  Most are teachers who have avoided teaching pronunciation completely for whatever reasons  Some (the bravest) teach Pronunciation but don’t feel their students are speaking as well as they could be  A few are just plain open-minded pioneers who embrace learning for its own sake Students More and more are students find their own education solutions on the internet and pursue them I applaud all of you and thank you for being here
  5. 5. How English Got To Be So Messed Up
  6. 6. Notes on the History Timeline  Olde English was a combination of German and Norse  Adding French in 1066 became Middle English  English was spoken for 1,000 yrs before it was written  William Caxton ruined English for all of time by using an alphabet (26 symbols) that didn’t fit (40 sounds)  Spelling was random then all those mistakes were canonized in the Big Book of Mistakes – the dictionary  Caxton effectively split English into two languages, Writing and Speaking  We are only taught to teach Writing because Speaking was in place before attending school  We teach Writing and hope for results in Speaking but that virtually never happens
  7. 7. Humans Figure Out Talking Young
  8. 8. What Caxton Did to English
  9. 9. Talk About Broken English  Reading/Writing uses 26 symbols in the smaller blue circle on the left  Listening/Speaking uses 40 symbols in the larger pink circle on the right  Consonants above the line, Vowels below the line  The purple space in the middle is where the two versions of English intersect. This is where you start to teach pronunciation Notes: You don’t need c, q or x in pronunciation Vowels don’t make any sense at all. i.e. u in busy, o in women, e in in pretty, ui in build... all make the same short i sound
  10. 10. We Have to Make a Phonetic Alphabet I’ll write out why you don’t need c, q or x  Their sounds are represented by other symbols  Usually ca, co, cu is /k/’ cap, cop, cup  Usually ci, ce, cy is /s/ - city, celery, cycle  But spelling is actually random  c is /sh/ in ocean and social, chef, machine  c is /ch/ in cello, cappuccino...  c is silent in muscle and scissors  q is /kw/  x is /gz/ in exam, /ks/ in excite, /z/ in Xerox
  11. 11. Notes for the Beginning  If I haven’t said this before, consonant sounds stop and vowel sounds stretch  We know Reading/Writing and Listening/Speaking are completely different languages in English  We have the ABC alphabet for Reading/Writing (it doesn’t work well but we have one)  We don’t have an alphabet for Listening/Speaking  We’ll make a simple phonetic alphabet that uses keyboard symbols so anyone can read what English sounds like
  12. 12. Sound Notation
  13. 13. 24 English Consonant Sounds
  14. 14. Six New Consonant Sounds Transformation: /Sh/ - shoe, sugar, ocean, machine, nation Note: Capital letters indicate two symbols work together
  15. 15. Teach Consonants First  It’s validating: Learners have most of the consonant sounds they need for English from their first language  It’s empowering: Students experience real success right out of the gate – “I know all this already”  Customize: Focus on the few sounds that your students are missing, usually the ‘th’ sounds, ‘y’ as /j/ for Spanish speakers, consonant blends and final consonants for Asian speakers, ‘w’ as /w/ not /v/ for East Indian speakers...  Dry Run: Use consonants to teach how the styles of exercises work: Mystery Match, Sound Mazes, Minimal Pairs... so when we get to vowel sounds – which are tricky, students are not overwhelmed trying to figure out how the sound focus exercises work btw - there are unlimited individual sound focus exercises
  16. 16. Recap – Back Up to the First Day Talk about the History of English 1. Provides context for what students have learned (Why they don’t speak English after years of study) 2. Give students an opportunity to listen to your voice 3. Talk about the teeter-totter action in Speaking class! The first day the teachers does the talking and students listen. They gradually switch until the students do all the talking – it’s a Speaking Class 4. On the next slide is a Killer Ice-Breaker Exercise Set your students up for Transformation from the first day.
  17. 17. Sowing the Seeds of Success
  18. 18. Old Friends
  19. 19. More Transformation Past Tense ‘ed’ Exercise video link:
  20. 20. Humans Figure Out Talking Young
  21. 21. Revisit Our 3-Step Model Lesson: deliver relevant information To do this you have to distinguish what you learned to teach from what students need to know. It’s not the same thing. Practice: there are unlimited exercises possibilities Transformation: This is the goal. Skills and systems that work for students in real life when the teacher is not there So far we have taught that:  spelling never tells us how words are pronounced  how to develop and trust their inner ear for generating speaking (not reading)
  22. 22. Student Transformations in this Webinar There was a shift in consciousness for learners:  When they saw the History of English and where English split into Writing and Speaking  When they saw Vennglish where the writing and speaking symbols intersect  With the Killer Ice-Breaker and they introduced themselves with an adjective (but it was subconscious)  When they saw Sound Notation with dog and /woof/  There was a shift at the /sh/ sugar and nation  Old Friends when they sounded exactly like a native speaker  ‘ed’ Past Tense Exercise and they could discern between sounds when the spelling gave no clue
  23. 23. Conclusion  We talked about Context for Speaking English as in not connected to writing in any meaningful way  We talked about the 3-Step Teaching/Learning Model Lesson, Practice, Transformation I use for everything  We talked about You know this already as an approach that harvests tools and information that intelligent, language speaking individuals already possess in order to make your lessons easy to digest, super relevant and validating for learners  The Speaking Made Simple curriculum is six steps to fluency and each step is delivered exactly the same way
  24. 24. Resources  Free 18 YouTube video Playlist of me teaching teachers Speaking Made Simple:  Email me for free 8.5 x 11 copies of the History of English, Vennglish and Old Friends I didn’t intend to pitch on this video but you should know there are books, posters, materials and a curriculum in the E-Store on my website if you are interested. Thanks for watching! The next video is on Pronunciation and Literacy