Institute Comprehensive TEFL

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C.M. - China said:
Pronunciation problems in china Teaching English in any country will provide challenges in pronunciation and china is no different. student often do not learn from a native speaker and develop problems in their pronunciation early on and form bad habits. English has several trouble sounds for students and also chinese in particular. When these sounds are not learned correctly they become harder to correct as the bad habit is reinforced over time. As an example, ?TH? sound is especially challenging for chinese. The ?TH? comes out and sounds like an ?S?. The challenge continues based on where the ?TH? is found in the word: the beginning, middle or end. [Think/Thanks & Birthday/Something & Breath/Wealth] Giving students practice reading sentences in class has proved helpful in boosting their confidence as well as pronunciation. Example sentences could be: Thank you for the thoughtful card, Throw the ball through the hoop, Thunder and lightning scare me, because they are a threat to my health. Another method used to help improve pronunciation is choral repetition using a list of words involving trouble sounds. ?TH? at the beginning of the word: thoughtful, therapy, thunder, thief, theory, thread, thank you. ?TH? in the middle of the word: something, athlete, ethnic, ethical, anything, faithful, bathtub, nothing. ?TH? at the end of the word: growth, north, death, breath, math. ?TH? is not the only trouble sound, I have used ?OUS? from Gracious, ?V? from Very, and ?Zh? from Genre. Combining oral practice as a group in class in only a partial fix in trying to correct a language learners poor pronunciation habits. A solution I have used along with other teachers is giving more personal attention. This is accomplished by oneon- one time with a student and giving an oral exam. Having the student read words and phrases with trouble sounds and answering questions is a great way to determine a student?s level. Grading on several areas can give a student vital feedback and ways to improve their English. Common rubric categories can give students specific areas to focus their studies. students who desire more speaking practice can come to office hours and ask questions. students who come to office hours can practice their oral English in a relaxed setting without the pressure and time constraints of a classroom. Relationships can also be formed creating a safer environment with which the student can make mistakes and learn from them. It gives the teacher a place to correct without embarrassing the student in front of classmates. This is also culturally sensitive in china, where I teach, where saving face is extremely important. Finding a way to correct a student without embarrassing them is challenging but can build rapport and trust to continue speaking in front of others. A language learners? confidence and willingness to make mistakes, particularly in pronunciation, is one of the single largest drivers to teaching with a corrective mindset. Helping students recognize and change their bad habits of pronunciation is a process, not an event. Patience and perseverance are required attributes if both parties want to succeed. There are countless helps and tips on teaching trouble sounds across the web. UNIT 13 has a pronunciation guide to help further study and ideas.