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M. C. - South Korea said:
Problems for english learners in South KoreaTeaching pronunciation of english is essential, but it is often not covered by native english speakers thoroughly. Reasons for this neglect vary from not having proper education on the subject to the teacher’s lack of confidence in this area. Despite this neglect, pronunciation remains one of the most important things that a native english speaker can teach their students. Teaching pronunciation is a quality that the native english speaking teachers can use to make themselves stand out from foreign teachers of english. Students are also interested in learning proper pronunciation, but many students are also afraid to learn english because of pronunciation problems. When a non-native student speaks english without proper pronunciation and is not properly corrected, they can feel discouraged and lose their confidence in speaking english. Once their confidence is lost, the students will be less inclined to speak english. South Korea has seen a rapid increase over the last few years in the push to teach english while bringing in larger amounts of native speakers from America, Australia, England, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. The South Korean government has made it a point to put native speaking english teachers in every public school in order to teach the student. There is also a big market of students looking for native speaking english teachers as private tutors in institutions or in private homes. The reason there is such as high demand for native speaking english teachers is because they can teach what a foreign english teacher cannot teach: proper pronunciation. While the foreign or native Korean speakers can teach proper grammar through using various books and materials and can give the students a more clear translation and understanding of the material, they cannot teach the students the proper pronunciation of english. One of the biggest pronunciation problems in South Korea is the pronunciation of the “f” or “ph” sounds. Korean does not have an equivalent for this sound, and therefore the students, whether they are young or adult learners, have difficultly learning the proper pronunciation of “f” or “ph.” For example, when the student says “fish,” the closest Korean sound is “?”/ “p” or a “?”/ “h.” The student therefore says, “pish” or “hish.” Many foreign or native Korean speaking english teachers also cannot properly pronounce the “f” or “ph” sound, or they also tend to confuse the “f” and “p” sounds. In order to teach this pronunciation properly, the native english teacher must also do their own research. The native english teacher has usually not had any training in pronunciation. At first, the teacher might drill the students; however, if the student is repeating the incorrect pronunciation, it will not fix the pronunciation problem. The native english teacher must first find out how to make the correct pronunciation, and then he must explain it to the students while providing a proper example. After the students understand and can properly make the sound, drilling can be effective to have the students get use to saying the proper pronunciation. Another method for the students to improve their pronunciation is looking at themselves in the mirror to make sure they are making the correct mouth movements, but this method can only be effective after the students have learned how to properly make the sounds from the teacher. While most english teachers, whether they are native or foreign, tend to avoid teacher pronunciation because of it’s difficultly, teacher pronunciation is essential for students to communicate and have confidence in speaking english. With the rapid influx of native english teachers in South Korea, there needs to be a push for these teachers to teach proper pronunciation.