Working on Pronunciation

Working on Pronunciation

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Hello and happy Saturday. Today I bring you a post that especially my ESL teachers will appreciate because it’s about English pronunciation. Now, I always worked on pronunciation with my younger kids, and that was almost an implicit part of the lessons. I didn’t really have to “plan” for a way to work on pronunciation with them. When I worked with high school, I realized that pronunciation wasn’t taken into account, as if to say that students already had a somewhat high level of English, so they spoke correctly. I found out otherwise and so when a British guy came to help me out with classes once a week, I decided to take advantage of him being a native to focus on pronunciation. Yes, I know I’ve written that word like 297 times already.

I started off class by having the other teacher read the poem The Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité out loud. This is a very long poem, so he selected fifteen stanzas to read. Because I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to read the poem myself -there are words I genuinely don’t know how to pronounce because I’d never come across them before- I would’ve played a video of someone else reading the poem, had my co-teacher been absent.  We purposely avoided to mention the title and the author of the poem to the students so that they wouldn’t look it up online. You’ll see in a minute why this was important.

While the teacher read the poem, my students were allowed to take notes, especially on words they didn’t understand, terms that were new to them, or maybe something  they weren’t sure how to spell. After the poem, the kids asked the other teacher about these notes they’d taken and he clarified their doubts.

After the poem was read and understood, I had my students pair up. I gave each pair a small package that sort of looked like a puzzle. It was indeed a stanza, which I’d written and cut the words apart so that the kids could put together again. That’s why I didn’t want them to know the name or the author of the poem, so that they would really think about what made sense to them instead of looking up the correct order online. While the kids worked, my co-teacher and I walked around monitoring what they were doing and answering questions.

I think this was a fun way for students to work on English pronunciation that would actually have them use their brains instead of repeating sentences or words from a list. How would you practice pronunciation in your class? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy teaching!

Love, Miss Camila