Friday, May 4, 2012

Pronunciation in ESL/EFL integrated skills instruction

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
As developed in many previous posts, haptic-integrated pronunciation should alway be understood in two senses. First, pronunciation teaching as a skill set should be thoroughly integrated into general instruction--almost to the point that it disappears as a distinct subject of attention. (See this very nice, 2001 summary by Oxford, for instance.) Second, pronunciation, itself, or attention to sound processes, should be multi-modality-based, most senses integrated in haptic-based procedures. Grading a set of term papers recently where the focus was on integrating pronunciation techniques into speaking-listening lessons, I was struck by the effect that previous classroom teaching experience teaching speaking (probably not listening, writing and reading as such) appeared to have on students' success in designing such integrated lesson plans. Those who had some such training and experience were successful in figuring out optimal contexts for attention to pronunciation. Those who didn't . . . weren't. One student even noted in a footnote that pronunciation should be the last skill that teachers are trained in, for that very reason. Not sure I agree with that entirely, but she has a very good point: you must have something to integrate something into! Integrate that idea into your teacher training program curriculum. I'm going to!

1 comment:

Bill Acton said...

Another student alluded to his lack of "embodied speaking teaching experience"--even though he has quite a bit of EFL background. We have a course in our MA program that precedes Applied Phonology entitled "Integrating the four skills." We also have a general requirement for admission to the masters of 2 years of teaching experience. At least for some, effective development of integrated instruction as a process may, ironically, require more attention to discrete skills. You never know . . .

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