Examining the “F” in /f ənɛtɪks/ Eva M. Ramos R. Language Unit, Ministry of Education, Panama [email_address] Milagro García A. ELT Consultant Cambridge Press [email_address] TESOL 2011 CONVENTION, NEW ORLEANS
Abstract Producing English sounds is crucial for ESL learners. Distinguishing between English sounds and learners’ native language counterparts and producing them in a native-like fashion is very difficult. The ideas presented here were used when other teaching strategies failed. What are the common elements of success? They encourage students’ creativity and they were FUN . This could be a call out area. This could be a call out area.
Problem Teaching pronunciation and phonetics, especially in an EFL setting is a rather difficult task. Students find learning the new sounds difficult and frustrating.
Questions 1. How can we make phonetics/pronunciation courses more enjoyable and less frustrating for students? 2. How can I engage students in becoming active learners in a pronunciation/phonetics course? 3. What strategies/projects can help my students to master the sounds easily and creatively?
Solution Creative Ideas for Teaching Phonetics/Pronunciation come to the rescue! Purpose Applying different creative ideas to help ESL learners to master English sounds, while having fun at the same time.
Interactive Charts During the term, students go to the computer lab, in order to practice the sounds. We use the interactive IPA chart designed by the University of Iowa, as well as Taylor’s and Thompson’s (2005) color vowel chart .
Videos Students need to be exposed to native pronunciation, and a good way to provide that is through videos. We usually use videos from: http:// www.rachelsenglish.com http:// www.youtube.com/user/KentLinguistics http:// www.englishmeeting.com / http:// www.youtube.com/user/JenniferE S L
Consonant Costume Contest As a mid-term activity students have to work in pairs in order to design a costume/t-shirt that represents a specific set of sounds. They are required to explain the production of sounds and give examples of minimal pairs.
Consonant Board Game Students design a board game that can be used to practice a particular set of consonants. For the board game project to be complete, they have to design: the box game, the game board, tokens, and the instructions.
Super Vowel Hero Project Students are required to create a super hero representing a vowel sound. They have to write a catchy introduction for their superhero using the vowel sound that they selected.
Minimal Pairs Baseball This game is played just as baseball, with two differences: bats represents each vowel sound, and the minimal pairs are written on paper balls categorized as: homerun, triple, double, and hit, by their level of difficulty.
Phonetics Portfolio At the end of the second quarter, students collect their projects and reflect on their learning using a portfolio. They share them with their peers in a conference.
Conclusion Helping students master American English pronunciation is not difficult if you put some creativity and hard work into it.