Agency Official TEFL

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

A.C. - Korea said:
Phonetics/Phonology Phonology is the study of the sounds by speakers of a particular language. A phoneme is a sound that makes a difference in meaning in a language. Since all students who study language need to be able to perceive and create the sounds that make up words, it is obvious how important the role of phonological knowledge is in learning a second language. Freeman and Freeman (2004) believe that ?students learning English as a second language must develop the ability to comprehend and produce the sounds of English. That is, they must develop control over English phonology? (p. 83). The problem is that most native english speakers have never been taught the subject of phonology because English, being their primary language, was acquired naturally. However, even a basic knowledge of phonology can be of great assistance to native English teachers as it will allow them to develop more effective instruction to English language learners. By understanding that phonemes vary across languages, and that sounds which are phonemes in one language may be allophones of a phoneme in another language, we can predict potential problems and thus, adapt a strategy that accommodates or addresses these issues. First, native English teachers can employ methods based on the acquisition perspective by keeping the focus on meaning construction through reading aloud with context embedded stories and engaging in interesting interactive activities. Experts believe that when English learners are trying to use English to understand some academic content area, these students can use their background knowledge and cues in making meaning. students can acquire both oral and written English in classes in which language is learned through content area study (Freeman & Freeman, 2004). At the same time, when students are learning phonics to learn how to read and when phonemic awareness becomes more of a concern, teachers should clearly introduce the contrasts of phonemes that may be allophones of a single phoneme in their language. For example, in korea, the sounds of ?l? and ?r? are allophones of a single phoneme. Therefore, korean students may have difficulty distinguishing words such as ?stole-store? or ?roll-roar.? By providing comprehensible input and making students aware of these differences, students will be able to detect and distinguish these sounds improving their pronunciation as well as their listening skills. According to one study, if a child never encounters contrastive use of two segments (because, for example, they are allophones of a single phoneme in that language), the structure that differentiates them will never be posited. Therefore, ?input drives the acquisition of phonemic contrasts? (Brown, 1998). As teachers, it is important to take note of and identify the differences between our students? L1 phonemes and our own. To assist pronunciation instruction and help learners distinguish different sounds, teachers should familiarize themselves with the phonetic alphabet and symbols. They should also pay close attention to the physical location of a phoneme?s production (place of articulation) so that they can explain and demonstrate how each sound is produced. Mouth diagrams showing how each sound is made is also beneficial since they help learners visualize what the mouth is doing thereby enabling them to emulate the action. Phonology, phonemic awareness, and clear pronunciation are necessary for clear communication. Learners need to be able to distinguish sounds to comprehend what is spoken and they need to be able to articulate words with proper pronunciation to be understood. By introducing the contrasts of phonemes that may be allophones of a single phoneme in the learner?s language and by clearly demonstrating, illustrating and practicing the production of phonemes, learners will be able to speak intelligibly and communicate with confidence. References: Brown, C.A. (1998). The role of the L1 grammar in the L2 acquisition of segmental structure. Second Language Research, 14(2), 136?193. Retrieved July 28, 2010, from ProQuest Direct database. Freeman, D.E., & Freeman, Y.S. (2004). Essential linguistics: What you need to know to teach. Porstmouth, NH: Heinemann.