Newsletter 2021#6

Newsletter 2021 #6
Good morning!

It's been a busy week this week for me - I've been teaching, making videos and I also did (only for the second time ever) a Facebook Live with Cecilia Nobre, who runs the FB group Private Teachers- Reloaded and did her MA TESOL with me at Warwick a few years ago. If you're on FB and you'd like to see what we were talking about, you can find the recording on my Facebook feed or on Freed.

This week, I thought that I'd do something a bit different and give you a newsletter with a theme - Pronunciation. This is often a part of language teaching that's brushed under the carpet and I'm not suggesting that all of our learners should speak like the Queen (as my partner frequently delights in reminding me, I don't!) but it's an area that learners often appreciate working on and a little-and-often approach works well.

If you're interested in some (slightly theoretical) input on pronunciation, I've put together a couple of blog posts here that you might like:

The Phonemic Chart
The English phonemic chart is made up from the IPA (International Phonemic Alphabet) and it's those funny symbols /ˈsɪmbəlz/ that you find in dictionaries. You're expected to have some knowledge of this if you are doing CELTA but how useful is it in class? This video, from the CELTA Toolkit, looks at this question (and if you are getting nervous and thinking that you haven't got a clue about this, there's a video here (one of my earlier efforts but still very popular on YouTube) which takes you through all of the 44 sounds of English and how they are arranged on the chart (and why).

Other aspects of pronunciation
Pronunciation isn't just about how we say individual sounds- in fact, this could be seen to be of fairly minor importance -it's the wide variation in vowel sounds particularly that gives us such a range of mutually intelligible but very different regional accents. Other parts of pronunciation that are also important are word stress, sentence stress and intonation and there are some videos here to talk you through some of these.

Finally, then, if you've had enough of the theory, you might like some activities for practice in class....

Three websites with great resources for pronunciation activities
The 'king' of pronunciation teaching in ELT is Adrian Underhill - he developed the phonemic chart that is commonly used for British English and his book Sound Foundations is a bit of a classic. He also has a website with links to materials and a blog and vlog posts that you might like.

Mark Hancock is another 'big name' in this area and he also has a website with loads of great material for teaching pronunciation. Highly recommended.

And, just as another titbit for you, this blog post from Rachel Tsateri at The TEFL Zone has 10 good ideas, too.

OK - that's it from me until next week. Hope that you have a great week and I'll see you again next Sunday.


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