5 techniques for teaching english pronunciation

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Helping students improve their ESL pronunciation and phonics is an essential part of any English language teacher’s job.Yet, particularly for new teachers, it’s not always obvious how lớn incorporate pronunciation practice and assessment (let alone the phonemic chart!) into lessons. To lớn help, we’ll explore the ways pronunciation và phonics lead lớn effective communication & share some English pronunciation tips you can use in your classroom or when teaching English online.

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Taking a Micro-credential course in Teaching English Pronunciation can help you learn the mechanisms & methods behind effective pronunciation practice. If you’re new khổng lồ teaching, you’ll want lớn get initial training & qualification with a TEFL certificate. You can explore our online TEFL courses khổng lồ get started!


Table of Contents


Why is it important khổng lồ teach ESL pronunciation & phonics lớn students?How vì chưng you teach pronunciation to lớn students in the English classroom?How bởi vì you assess your ESL students’ pronunciation?

Why is it important lớn teach ESL pronunciation và phonics to lớn students?

Effective communication

No matter what màn chơi your students are, no matter how advanced or fluent they are, if their pronunciation of certain key sounds is incorrect, they’ll be misunderstood by other speakers of English. For example, if an English learner talks about owning three ship (/ʃɪp/), but actually means three sheep (/ʃi:p/), the listener might assume that he or she is a very rich person, while the speaker in fact just wants lớn talk about his private little farm.

In such a case, the purpose of learning English to lớn effectively communicate with other people around the world is not fulfilled. This can be extremely demotivating for learners of a language, & it can also cause students khổng lồ hesitate lớn speak.

The same goes, of course, for students’ listening skills. If your English students misunderstand the wordship (/ʃɪp/) as sheep (/ʃi:p/) when they hear it, similar confusion will arise.

For effective communication, both receptive and productive skills are equally important. This is why it’s essential lớn equip your students with the necessary tools lớn speak & listen, right from the beginning of their lessons.

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Phonics teacher Uchechukwu, from Nigeria, teaching the phonemic chart

I’m lost in terminology! What do the different pronunciation-related terms mean?

We’ve touched on the concept of phonics, but the terminology surrounding ESL pronunciation can be confusing at times, especially if you’re a native English-speaking teacher và you’re expected lớn teach the rules và patterns of your mother tongue that just come naturally to you.

To start, you can đánh giá the basic features of pronunciation with the following infographic, from the nhatroso.com Micro-credential course in Teaching English Pronunciation:

Next, let’s review a danh sách of the most important vocabulary andbuzzwords you will need khổng lồ prepare for your ESL pronunciation lessons.

Consonants Sounds such as b, c, d, f, etc. The letters of the alphabet that are not vowels. The consonants are produced by some constriction of the air passages in the production of the sound.

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Consonant Clusters Pairs of consonants such as “sh” và “ch” that represent a particular phoneme.Diphthong – Two vowels sounded together, one of which glides into the other, as in the “oi” sound of “boy.”Minimal Pair Two words in which only one phoneme varies, such as “cat” and “cab(the final sound is the only difference in these words). Minimal pairs are often used in pronunciation exercises. At times, minimal sentences are also used: I caught a (cat/cab) outside my house.Phonemes –Individual sounds in a language. English has about 45 distinct sounds with which we communicate meaning. A letter in the alphabet does not necessarily represent a phoneme as it may have more than one sound as “c” does in “cat,” “face,” & “watch.”Phonemic Chart –A chart such as the International Phonetic Alphabet (see definition above). A set of symbols that represent all the sounds in spoken English. By knowing the chart, you can tell which sounds are “voiced” (use vocal chords for sound) or “unvoiced.”Phonemic Script A system for writing and portraying the individual phonemes (sounds) of a language as symbols (such as on a phonemic chart).Phonics– The sound system of a language that relates sounds to lớn spellings in order to lớn develop reading và writing skills.Phonology – The study of the sounds (or phonemes) of a language.Voiced ConsonantsConsonant sounds which are produced by the vocal cords when pronounced, like the “th” in “bathe.” Put your hand lớn your throat when you pronounce this word và you can feel the vibration when sounding the “th.”Voiceless Consonants –Consonant sounds that are produced by the lips and teeth & not the vocal cords when pronounced, such as the “th” in “bath.” Put your hand lớn your throat when you pronounce this word and you will feel no vibration when sounding the “th.”Vowels – Those sounds, like a, e, i, o, & u, which are not consonants and which are produced without any constriction of the air passageways.

How vì you teach pronunciation lớn students in the English classroom?

When it comes to how khổng lồ teach pronunciation to lớn ESL students, it’s important to consider phonics. Teaching phonics can be daunting, but with the right tricks and pronunciation activities, your students’ ESL pronunciation practice can be smooth, & even fun! The basic goal is khổng lồ help your students connect letters and letter compounds with sounds lớn produce audible language. So, how can you approach a phonics lesson?

The phonemic chart

A basic tool in the ESL classroom is the phonemic chart. Referring khổng lồ the chart on a regular basis can help your students get familiar with new words quickly, and they can sound out new words by themselves by looking at the chart. Keep a poster-sized chart in your classroom (or in the background of your screen if you’re teaching online) so your students have easy access to lớn it!

If you need more help understanding the IPA chart, kiểm tra out the following clip from a recent nhatroso.comUniverse Expert Series webinar, Teaching English Pronunciation: Understanding & Utilizing the IPA Chart. You can watch the full webinar here.