Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Authentic modelling means authentic production

When we do pronunciation work with students, I find that it helps to cover the word that you are practicing first. Correcting pronunciation is about the sounds and you should eliminate the distraction of the letters and the expected sounds first and focus solely on the phonological side.  When the student has mastered the sound, then it is important to show how we represent that with letters and discuss differences between expected sounds and real sounds.

When you are doing pronunciation practice on a sentence level, never get students to read the sentence from the board.  This is where back-chaining comes in.  Back-chaining is where you start with the last word/words and add words to it to form a sentence from the end.  This stops the student from jumping ahead.

  • Beach.
  • To the beach.
  • I went to the beach.

I am not a big fan of students reading aloud as it creates an unnatural, monotonous rhythm that is not how we speak.  When I do choral work, it is always with natural intonation which means it should be led by the teacher not by written material.  If you do reading aloud, try to focus on getting the students to read in a natural intonation which is not always possible as written material was designed to be consumed silently by the mind.