1 Boosting pronunciation proficiency through podcast Edy Suseno, M.Pd STKIP-PGRI-SIDOARJOAbstract Teaching pronunciation is sometimes frustrating. Many ways are provided to gain theteacher’s aim but some of them are facing barrier that is blocking out the brilliant ideas. Thestudents’ pronunciation in the end of study is sometimes still embarrassing. Both teachers andstudents are confused how to find a right way to pass the path. In this research was found that using podcast in classroom can better students’pronunciation significantly. They students were listening, miming, retelling podcast served bythe teacher quite often. As a result their competence in producing pronunciation nativespeakers alike was amazing.Introduction Since the years pronunciation held a serious problem. It conveys the message ofspeakers’ idea. English was derived from German but some countries also contributed the colorof vocabulary. It influences the pronunciation. For native speakers it never prompts difficulties,but for non-native speakers, especially Indonesian people, it provokes some problems. There are many ways to overcome such a barrier. One of them is using good dictionaryincluded phonetic symbol. It is an easy way to learn how a word is pronounced. For a diligentstudent, it will not be a problem but for the average students they are reluctant to opendictionary to find a way to pronounce a new word they found. The other way to gain an instant way to read a word correctly is using electronicdictionary. It is simple enough we just type the word and click a button to hear the sound. Butthe words provided are limited and it frustrates the users. Although the two ways mentioned above face barriers, using podcast is another optionthat helps students find a right pronunciation guided by native speakers. We just simply clickthe preference story and click the mp3. By waiting for a few seconds we will hear the native’swords.
2PodcastingA podcast is an audio internet. It is very popular nowadays among the educated people aroundthe world. Harris, Interactive (2007), reports that players are extremely popular among youngadults, noting a marked increase among college students in particular. Due to the increasedpopularity of podcasts and ownership of MP3 devices, the use of podcasting has begun to findits way into educational settings.The number of podcast user is increasing rapidly like Mc Carty, 2005 said that Internet audiohas greatly increased in popularity. Anybody can create a podcast to support their aim. He orshe are simply using microphone to record their voice and upload it on website. It is frequentlyaccompanied by transcript of the recorded mp3 to ease the listening comprehension.Mp3 is abbreviation forMPEG-1 Audio Layer-3: trade name for software created by theMotion Picture Experts Group that enables files to becompressed quickly to 10% or less of their original size forstorage on disk or hard drive or especially for transfer across the internetThe over spreading of using podcast was boosted by the wide spreading of mp3 devicesownership. Like what Tan and Mong (n.d.) said “…increasingly widespread ownership of MP3players and the relative ease with which individual podcasters can create and distribute files”(p. 2)Uses of Podcasting in Education ESL students need to gain a natural sound produced by native speakers a lot. It is veryimportant to hone their accomplishment in mastering English. Tavales and Skevoulis (2006)suggest that students can record themselves or native speakers and then engage in listeningpractice as they focus on pronunciation, grammar use or intonation.METHOD AND PROCEDURE This kind of research was followed by students of English Department of STKIP-PGRI-SIDOARJO. They are 122 students. They are separated into three classrooms. Their ages are
3between19 to 26. They were given the same materials. The materials are on websitewww.eslfast.com. This research took 16 weeks. Before joining class, they were tested their competence in speaking by the researcher.He used two tools to assess it. First one is The Pronunciation Attitude Inventory (PAI) (Adaptedfrom Elliott, 1995). It consists of a number of questions that measure the interest of students inlearning speaking. Those questions seem below:Please read the following statements and choose the response that best corresponds to yourbeliefs and attitudes.Please answer all items using the following response categories:5 = Always or almost always true of me4 = Usually true of me3 = Somewhat true of me2 = Usually not true of me1 = Never or almost never true of me1. Id like to sound as native as possible when speaking a foreign language.2. Acquiring proper pronunciation in a foreign language is important to me.3. I will never be able to speak a foreign language with a good accent.4. I believe I can improve my pronunciation skills in my foreign language.5. I believe more emphasis should be given to proper pronunciation in class.6. One of my personal goals is to acquire proper pronunciation skills and preferably be able topass as a near-native speaker of the language.7. I try to imitate foreign language speakers as much as possible.8. Communicating is much more important than sounding like a native speaker of my foreignlanguage.
49. Good pronunciation skills in my foreign language are not as important as learning vocabularyand grammar.10. I want to improve my accent when speaking my foreign language.11. Im concerned with my progress in my pronunciation of my foreign language.12. Sounding like a native speaker is very important to me. The second tool is Pronunciation Tasks written by Ducate and Lomicka, 2009. This kindof tool was also applied before listening to the podcast. Researcher asked each student todemonstrate his or her ability in delivering ideas. They were allowed to choose any topic theylove to. Researcher scored their work based on the criteria below:5 points – Content __________4-5 pts topic fully discussed with several examples from their experiences and research2-3 pts topic only cursorily discussed with only one example provided1 point topic barely discussed with no examples provided5 points – Coherency and Organization __________4-5 points coherent and well-organized, includes title2-3 points somewhat difficult to follow, includes title1 point not organized, no title5 points – Pronunciation and Fluency __________4-5 points few errors in pronunciation; conversation flows well2-3 points a fair amount of pronunciation errors, but still comprehensible; many starts andstops in conversation1 point meaning unclear due to pronunciation errors
55 points – Accuracy __________4-5 points few errors in spelling and grammar2-3 points many spelling or grammar errors, but still comprehensible1 point meaning unclear due to spelling or grammar errors5 points – Creativity __________4-5 points creative presentation of topic including music, pictures, background, special effects,and/or energetic presentation2-3 points semi-creative presentation without additional effects1 point completely uncreative presentation5 points – Impact __________4-5 points voice is engaging, voice sounds natural, includes natural pauses and hesitations,variation in voice intonation2-3 points voice is not very engaging, little variation in voice intonation, parts of podcastssounds read aloud1 point voice is not at all engaging, monotone voice, entire podcast sounds read aloudTotal Points are __________/30 The first tool above was applied in the first and the last week. And the second one wasapplied once in four weeks. So there would be 5 times scoring.
6RESULT AND DISCUSSIONTable 1 Average scores First LastNo Questions week week 1 Id like to sound as native as possible when speaking a foreign language. 4 5 2 Acquiring proper pronunciation in a foreign language is important to me. 3 5 3 I will never be able to speak a foreign language with a good accent. 4 1 4 I believe I can improve my pronunciation skills in my foreign language. 3 5 5 I believe more emphasis should be given to proper pronunciation in class. 4 5 One of my personal goals is to acquire proper pronunciation skills and 6 preferably be able to pass as a near-native speaker of the language. 2 5 7 I try to imitate foreign language speakers as much as possible. 2 5 Communicating is much more important than sounding like a native 8 speaker of my foreign language. 3 4 Good pronunciation skills in my foreign language are not as important as 9 learning vocabulary and grammar. 4 1 10 I want to improve my accent when speaking my foreign language. 2 5 Im concerned with my progress in my pronunciation of my foreign 11 language. 1 5 12 Sounding like a native speaker is very important to me. 2 5 The scores appear above are the average ones. From the first week assessment we can seetheir pessimistic. They are not good motivated. They seem learn English as compulsory. In the last week study we see something different from the previous one. Afterexperiencing some treatments, their courage was boosted. They felt confident toward the aim oflearning English and they knew what to do. Learning English was not merely compulsory to them. They noticed something importantto dig deeply. That is speaking native speakers alike.
7 Table 2 Criteria Scores5 points – Content __________ 1 2 3 4 54-5 pts topic fully discussed with several examples from theirexperiences and research 4 52-3 pts topic only cursorily discussed with only one exampleprovided 2 31 point topic barely discussed with no examples provided 15 points – Coherency and Organization __________4-5 points coherent and well-organized, includes title 4 42-3 points somewhat difficult to follow, includes title 2 2 31 point not organized, no title5 points – Pronunciation and Fluency __________4-5 points few errors in pronunciation; conversation flows well2-3 points a fair amount of pronunciation errors, but stillcomprehensible; many starts and stops in conversation 31 point meaning unclear due to pronunciation errors 15 points – Accuracy __________4-5 points few errors in spelling and grammar 4 5 52-3 points many spelling or grammar errors, but stillcomprehensible 2 31 point meaning unclear due to spelling or grammar errors5 points – Creativity __________4-5 points creative presentation of topic including music, pictures,background, special effects, and/or energetic presentation 4 4 42-3 points semi-creative presentation without additional effects 2 31 point completely uncreative presentation5 points – Impact __________4-5 points voice is engaging, voice sounds natural, includes naturalpauses and hesitations, variation in voice intonation 4 4 52-3 points voice is not very engaging, little variation in voiceintonation, parts of podcasts sounds read aloud 21 point voice is not at all engaging, monotone voice, entire podcastsounds read aloud 1Total Points are __________/30 10/30 17/30 21/30 25/30 28/30
8 The scores above are the average ones. From the first score we see that the students arenot enough capable to present their material. Their preparedness, confident, and fluency are bad.They seem want to end it as soon as possible. On the second assessment they look a bit better the first one. They a bit understand whatto do with their material. After listening podcast a couple of times, their ability in presenting materials startedshowing some progress. Their preparedness, confident, and fluency are bettering. It can be seenin the third assessment. In the forth scoring, they seem understand what to do. They seem confident. Theirpreparedness was graded very good and they spoke English much better than before. In the last one we see their optimum capability in presenting their material. In otherwords, most of them are so called very good presenters. From the two tables above can be concluded that using podcast quite often can better thestudents’ pronunciation.References Ducate, lara and Lomicka, lara(2009), PODCASTING: AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR HONINGLANGUAGE STUDENTS’ PRONUNCIATION?, retrieved fromhttp://llt.msu.edu/vol13num3/ducatelomicka.pdfTavales, S., & Skevoulis, S. (2006). Podcasts: Changing the face of e-learning. Retrieved fromhttp://ww1.ucmss.com/books/LFS/CSREA2006/SER4351.pdfMcCarty, S. (2005). Spoken Internet to go: Popularization through podcasting. JALT CALL, 1(2),67-74. Retrieved http://jaltcall.org/news/index.php
9Harris Interactive. (2007). On campus and beyond. Trends & Tudes, 6(6), 1-5. Retrieved fromhttp://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters/k12news/HI_TrendsTudes_2007_v06_i06.pdfElliott, A.R. (1995). Foreign language phonology: Field independence, attitude, and the successof formal instruction in Spanish pronunciation. Modern Language Journal, 79, 530-542.