Agency Inexpensive TEFL

Check out tefl tesol about Agency Inexpensive TEFL and apply today to be certified to teach English abroad.

You could also be interested in:

This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

T.P. - Japan said:
Pronunciation problems in JapanJapan has cultivated a reputation for being a country that is rich in history, culture and resources. Within the global sphere Japan has also seen the impact of English language in transforming the way in which countries relate. In an effort to avoid being on the periphery of the development enabled by globalization, the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture and technology (also referred to as MEXT) has made providing English education for elementary students through to senior high school students one of its primary mandates. The MEXT policy for English education states that emphasis should be placed on the ?cultivation of fundamental and practical communication abilities? of its students (MEXT 2002). It makes note of the need for students to incrementally acquire effective communication skills at each stage of their educational development. Although these aspirations have been documented in writing, many social, linguistic and cultural issues have impeded the ability of the japanese to absorb many fundamental linguistic concepts. Sadly, many students who have graduated from senior high school after being exposed to language training for over a decade still struggle with various aspects of English such as using appropriate tenses or being able to pronounce some words. This essay seeks to discuss the issue of pronunciation challenges faced by the japanese. I will suggest reasons why these problems have arisen, why they have persisted and ways in which they can be ameliorated. Speaking is an essential productive skill that can actively facilitate effective communication. Mispronounced words can however negatively impact on the speakers? ability to convey a message. If for example, an English student told a lost tourist to ?Turn light? instead of ?Turn right? the hearer might be confused and take the exchange to mean that he or she should turn at the next stoplight. Pronunciation is one component of phonology that proves to be a huge problem for japanese students and the example above only begins to skim the surface of it. The Source The truth be told, there is no singular cause for the difficulties that japanese students face. The current situation has been influenced by the fact that 1) the japanese syllabary differs from the English alphabet in significant ways, 2) the misguiding effects of ?katakana English? and 3) the lack of effective corrective measures on the part of some educators. To begin, it must be established that the japanese alphabet if made up of three different syllable tables. These are Hiragana, Kanji and Katakana. Kanji and Hiragana are chinese based characters that are used to make japanese words. Katakana on the other hand reflects the sounds of the Hiragana table as different characters. Katakana serves the sole purpose of documenting foreign words. For example, the word ?coffee? in English is pronounced ?coohii? in japanese and is represented by the katanana?????? This close but jaded representation of an English sound helps to corrupt the ability of japanese students to model correct English pronunciations. students become locked into the cycle of only producing Katakana sounds and thus have a hard time transitioning to English pronunciation. An article by Michael Kistler and Joseph Sandkamp entitled ?Helping japanese students Overcome Common Pronunciation Problems Caused by Katakana English? serves as a testament to the existence of a link between the use of Katakana English and the mispronunciation of words. Another problem which is presented by the use of the japanese syllabaries is that some of the sounds in the English alphabet cannot be found among the japanese syllables. Sounds such as ?l?,?v? and ?h? are not present in the japanese syllable table. This has left the japanese to substitute these sounds for the closest sounding syllables in their own language which are ?ri? ?bu? and ?fu?. This substitution often leads to incorrect production of words as well as a struggle to distinguish between sounds when spelling. students also struggle with distinguishing between ?b? and ?v? and producing the correct pronunciation for?s? and ?chi?. These socio-linguistic problems have created quite a challenge for language instructors who are faced with the task of retraining their students. Many teachers become overwhelmed by the task and simply decide to provide a basis explanation of these phonological aspects instead of providing in depth information. This brings us to the third contributing factor which is the matter of pronunciation training being neglected. Despite the fact that some teachers are well-intentioned when they decide not to ?bombard? their students with the pressure of trying to pronounce words correctly, it must be noted that this negligence actually ends up doing a dis-service to the students. The only way to rectify the problems students have with producing correct sounds is to insist on intensive and consistent practice. The solutions The question is then posed, how can teachers maneuver around the limitations set by social-cultural and linguistic barriers? The answer is that though there is no fool-proof formula to tackle such a complex problem, there are certain approaches that can and should be taken. Firstly, teachers should take advantage of the ability of young learners to absorb materials presented to them. Regular classes should be devoted to phonetics and phonology during early childhood. This will help students to accept the new sounds as normal from a young age instead of when they are older. Secondly, teachers should constantly reinforce the explanations for word pronunciation when learning new vocabulary. Words should not be taught without showing the students proper tongue placement or adequate pronunciation practice. Finally, teachers should make use of activities such as word pyramids, tongue twisters, word comparisons and games to help the students to develop the skills that they need. In Japan the trend is to stay away from excessive explanations regarding pronunciation and as a result, students are not forced to develop good pronunciation skills. A better approach would be to create materials for weekly practice so that the students get in the habit of honing their productive skills. References: MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and technology). (2002). a strategic plan to cultivate ?japanese with English abilities.? Database-online. Available from http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/ hakusho/html/hpac200201/hpac200201_2_015.html. accessed 24 Jan, 2012. The Internet TESL Journal (2008) ?Helping japanese students Overcome Common Pronunciation Problems Caused by Katakana English? Available from http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Kistler-Katakana.html accessed 24 Jan, 2012.


;