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Amery, Wisconsin TESOL Online & Teaching English Jobs
Pronunciation is probably the most neglected aspect of English language teaching. Confidence is often lacking in foreign teachers to teach it methodically, and English teachers sometimes also lack the training and confidence to tackle this area. Applied phonetics is rarely taught at school or even university and it seems an alien, abstract subject to the adult trainee teacher. Then there is the fact that many native English speakers find it difficult to hear certain features, such as the fall or rise of speech, particularly at the end of sentences. The reaction to this is often: “Well, I am an educated English person and if I cannot detect things like that, the foreign student will not be able to either. So what does it matter anyway?” Most pronunciation, as a result, tends to concentrate on individual sounds, which although the most obvious, is not necessarily the most important part.An effective teacher considers the teaching of pronunciation an integral part of the course. For one thing, students are as concerned about it as they are with any other aspect of learning English. In a recent study of 500 adult students from Cordoba, Barcelona, Paris, Turin, and Rome, one of the questions asked was: “What do you find the most difficult in English: Grammar, Speaking, Understanding, Pronunciation, Idioms or Writing?” Among these alternatives, pronunciation was in a substantial majority. Skilled pronunciation teaching also gives life to a class because it reflects feelings and personal reactions to different situations. In classroom practice it gives variety to repetition or dialogues which, otherwise, have only a neutral meaning.