Pronunciation and Phonology in the EFL Classroom - "Oh" Sound

 

Here we have a set of five words, which all share one sound: the ?oh? sound, as in ?go?, ?show?, ?dough?, ?note? and ?boat?. They?re five different spelling patterns to tell our students so they can identify when to make the ?oh? sound. We can have a simple letter ?o?, ?ow?, ?ough?, ?o? with the magic ?e? which turns our vowel into what we knew as long sounds and the ?oa? as in ?boat?. Now, for a non-native learner, perhaps they can handle something like this. They remember that these spelling combinations help to produce the ?oh? sound and they can go about their business looking at the words and memorizing this knowing that these spelling patterns will produce the sound ?oh?. Now that?s okay until we get to a situation where we can also have words like ?to?, ?cow? and also ?rough?. So the students has gone from knowing that these letters put together in these patterns will produce an ?oh? sound and now they?re confused by the fact that the same pattern can produce a different vowel sound here, it can produce a different vowel sound here and a different vowel sound here. Put this all together and we created a situation, which can become very confusing to our non-native learner. However, our international phonemic alphabet takes care of this problem by taking various spelling patterns and simplifying it into this symbol here.


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

This unit explores different groups of learners and how to best adapt teaching methods to them. We are given tips and instructions to deal with various groups, including young learners, adults, beginners etc. From this unit I feel like I have learnt how to better adapt a lesson to the students, and I have become more aware of the characteristics of different sorts of groups.I think that you can have the best teacher, but without visual aids, the teaching method can become boring and repetitive. I know that when I was at school, doing work off the OHP, watching DVDs etc made myself and other students so much more engaged and interested in the task at hand. They are important to aid learning and provide a different method of learning to students.

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