PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE REPORT
ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROGRAMME
Researcher’s name: Andrés De Jesús Carrillo
Student’s registration number: 09-10410
Working Title: Teaching Pronunciation to EFL Children
General Line of Research: English Language Teaching
Nature of Research: Descriptive research
Having a good pronunciation it is not a trend. This goes beyond having
an accent like a native speaker. The globalization has reached our lives
and therefore English it is important and it is important to learn the
right pronunciation. This is because one can be misunderstood when
speaking and saying wrong words. Teaching English to EFL children has
become one of the things that are important.
In this research we are going over techniques which can be helpful to
teachers and they can learn new strategies. Besides, possible problems
are going to be expressed in this experience.
In addition; activities and the process of how these activities can be
developed and how they can help in the language learning process. And
how students can improve their listening, production skill can be
developed. Finally students can feel free to produce more fluently
speech with activities according to the age and grade of students.
Language is an amazing process where the brain takes different changes and we as
human being are made for language according to Noam Chomsky. He says that we are
endowed with this gift of developing the language and producing this intelligence of
One thing is important, is that despite that the languages are different they have
something in common according to the law of UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR by Noam
Chomsky, 1957 (all languages share the same features as noun, adj, adv etc...)
Teaching English has turned out to be very popular here in Mexico because of the
globalization and the new technology, software programs etc. English was meant from
high school to university. However as I mention before, English has reached this
importance and many countries have chosen it to implement the English language to
their children too. Teaching children takes a more deep research and methods for
making children learn the language. Piaget talks about the different stages (sensorial,
pre-operational and operational) that a baby to a person goes through in the developing
of the language. This is important because we can take into account how to teach
toddlers, kids depending of what stage they are. In addition, as Noam Chomsky states
that all human being are born to learn any language because we have the gift of the
language which only human kind has this skill. So, this is that no matter what our first
language might be; we can learn another language.
Pronunciation has become a very important factor when teaching because English
has a lot of phonemes that in comparison with Spanish which does not have them.
Therefore, it is a problem when learning. And besides, if one as a teacher does not
work on children pronunciation is like giving up on what one is working. I mean, for
example; the words three and tree they might be similar to EFL Spanish speaker
learners. However; they are not even close to that. The reason of this is that they are
phonological different. The word three has a theta sound/θ/ and the word tree has
not; it does have a stop consonant sound which is/t/. Therefore, it is important to
teach phonemes in order to avoid students to get confused and have a better
understanding of English.
The technique bottom-up looks to be suitable because it is useful using this method
for the reason that it comes to the learning process of the sound and learners learn
and identify by listening.
Another point is that teaching teenagers from adults or children is completely
dissimilar. When teaching children, one has to be more careful on what you
say, how one acts, or even the way you feel (Children can perceive the way you feel
and that may affect their learning). Bearing in mind what I said before of taking
into account the Piagets theories, we can analyse how a child will act or what he can
do in his learning through the language.
Me as an English Foreign Language Student of ninth semester I think that my experience in
teaching pronunciation to EFL children was difficult at the beginning for the simple reason
that I had to look for more information of how children are in learning process. In this
project, I will point out some problems when teahcing EFL children. When I started
teaching was in Octavio Paz which is an Elementary school. I started working in the PNIEB
Program. This program is in charge of the English teaching in elementary schools in
Quintana Roo. There was when I had to face reality of teaching and put in practice some
techniques and strategies I learned in my mayor. Unfortunately, I never took any subject of
how to teach children during my mayor. So it was a disadvantage when I had this obstacle
standing in my way.
Teching English to children is one of the things more rewarding but hard in the same time.
On one hand, children are good learners and they learn unconsciously in comparison with
adults. Thus, children need to be taught with the correct pronunciation due to children
learn by repetion and they can learn wrong words if they are not told the correct sound. On
the other hand, teaching English as a forign language is hard becuase unfortunately
children are not exposed to the language after class and most of them have no acces to
internet, books, videos or what is surprising they are not second learners and they are
confused because their L1 is Maya and it becomes a problem in the classroom when
learning. Due to these issues, children and teacher may find some troubles on their way.
However; having a good pronunciation is not having a native speaker like accent but it is to
be understood when speaking, being clearly, consistent and with good fluency.
To describe my experience in teaching pronunciation to EFL
To analyse the current theoretical and methodological
approaches about how to teach pronunciation to EFL/ESL
To compare my own experience of teaching pronunciation to
EFL/ESL children and the current theoretical and
methodological approaches about how to teach pronunciation
to EFL children.
To analyse the benefits that teaching pronunciation to EFL/ESL
children has and to provide some recommendations.
Pronunciation is getting more and more importance even for children who are
good and quick learners due to their age. On one hand, having good
pronunciation is becoming important to other people not only children. People
who is leaving form tourism they need to improve their pronunciation because
many of this business men/women are offering their product and one
mispronounce word will cause their customers leave elsewhere. The conclusion
may be relevant for school because they can be prepared and have more
information about the sound production development. The materials that can be
used for teaching English to EFL children. People who create materials they can
use this information and that way they will have a knowledge of how creating
materials for teaching pronunciation to EFL children. Pre-service teachers will
recieve this benefit too.
One of the things that motivated to pick this resaerch was that I wanted to share
my expericnces I had during my work as an English teacher in the Octavio Paz
Elementary School. Besides, I thought it could be interesting unfolding the stpes I
carried out in my practice.
Review of Literature
Universal Grammar says that children are born with this ability no matter
they have been born; they can develop the ability of comprehension of
the rules of the language.
The Critical Period Hypothesis proposed by Lenneberg (1967) says that
human being has period of time for acquiring a language. This is that if a
person goes beyond that critical period is going to be difficult to acquiere
or learn a language.
However, it is interesibg that the critical period says that if a six year old
child that knows Spanish and that is exposed to an English Enviroment.
He will be able to acquiere the language in an easier way. For that
reason, the critical period is importan when learning a language. This is
that, when someone is older it takes more efforts and hardly one can get a
Adquisition is another theory that Noam Chomsky propuses and he
explains that children in order to acquire a language they need to deduce
the implicit rules of the language. They go throught a proces where they
play with the language and think up their own rules.
Bottom up Approach Language learning gives us the basics of language. Then, we can move
on to more compound structures, and lastly, to less important structure. Therefore, there is
a constrasting comparison with Top-down learning in which pupils attempt to appreciate
the common point without perceptiving the entire component parts of a language.
“Listening for exact phareses and words would be considered a bottom up approach.
Top-down: This method is about the skills like reading and listening selection without
worring about the individual components of language.The learners try to get how to use
cues such as intonation, tone of voice of the language without focusing on specific words
and structures. According to some researchs have shown the importance becuase it can
produce autumatic processing.
Lidia Usó Viciedo, Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Barcelona-Drassanes on her researche she
says that pronunciation is a proces that takes time an according to her researchs. She made
an experiment to Frorign Spanish learners. She devided to groups of 10 students each one.
One group was exposed to extra pronunciation classes and the other was not. The 20
students were form England. She found that those who were exposed to the extra calsses
improve their pronunciation with the /r/ and the /ñ/ which are sounds difficut for them.
However, she states that teachers need to be prapare and have to make their own materials
of how to make activities in order to elicit the practice and improvement of the students.
Thus making this in a different way studnets feel more comfortable and learn the right
pronunciation without being afraid of making mistake and being ashamed.
PNIEB (Programa Naciona de Ingles en Educacion Basica) is a program that started in
Chihuahua 2009. This program had an intention of implementing English as a Second
Language in Elementary School and carrying it to collage in order to have a sequence. This
is because of a research made by Romero Vega Maria Guadalupe that says that many
students in university had problem when learning English and they said that the reason of
this was that they could never learn in high school. Therefore, the program came up.
However, this program is not given a sequence as the first aim meant to but it is now
applied to all elementary school of the country. The PNIEB program uses the Competences
teaching in which students can develop abilities and different knowledge.
I Started working Octavio Paz do Elementary School and I still that is located in Chetumal
Quintana Roo. Octavio Paz Elementary School has computers in the classrooms but
unfortunately they do not work. In addition, the school lack of a language lab which that
could be another problem because if the Elementary School Had one children could be
more exposed to the language and would practice more the language.
The classrooms can have room from 29 to 35 students and the students are from a medium
class. However; the classrooms are not adorned with English posters. Unfortunately; this
does not depend on the English teachers or students willing to do it. It is because school
has policies which do not allowed posting any poster. Thus, Teaching English in Octavio
Paz was challenging for me. I taught 5 groups in which the average of students was 33
students by each group. On one hand, there were children that had been in an English
context (they have been in the USA) and they had plenty knowledge of the language
making the teaching easier.
On the other hand; there were children who had Maya as first language, Spanish as a
second one and English as a third causing confusion on those students who were unable
to understand the instructions for any activity carried out.
Teaching By competences
Teaching by competences is one of the current methods now use for teaching laguages
and has been really succesful. Studets are evaluated and taught in a different
way, Staudents learn through a process. In addition, in that proccess get in volved
Students, teachers. Students learn skills which will be evaluated and according how they
performed during the process is how they will be evaluated. The evaluation is a constant
process and Teachers need to make their own tools of evaluation which can be
rubrics, checklist, etc. Students develop abilities such as to know with the language, to
be through the laguage, to do with the language. That way Students are able to do and
are acompetitive for life. Most of the activities are meant for context of real life, students
develop social skills like workteam, and they master their abilities.
Jean peagiet (1890-1980) talks about the stages that children go through when acquiring
the language. He explains every stage according to the age of the children. He states 4
stages the sensori-motor sage (from birth to two years), pre-operational stage (from two
to seven years of age), Concrete operational stage (from seven to eleven years of age) and
formal operational stage (from eleven years onwards)
In his book The Language and the Tought of the Child (published in1923) he states that
development was a procces of acquiringthe principles of formal logic. This means to the
basic logical abilities as “oparations”.
Vogotsky’s thoery (Social Constructivism, 1896-1934)
Vogosky states the Zone of Proximal Development. This means that describes
the difference between the present knwoledge of the infant and the potential
kwnoledge practicable with some help from a more knwoledgable peer and adult.
Therefore a child who feels earger to read a story he may stop when he does not
know a word. However if there is someone near who helps him, the child will be
able to continue with the reading and improve his reading.
Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983, Frame of mind)
He sugests that intelligence had no unitary feature. It showed itself in countless
dissimilar ways in diverse children. The types of intelligences are the following:
linguistic, logico- mathematical, musical, spatial, kinaesthetic, and
interpersonal, intrapesonal, and naturalist. Depending of the kind of multiple
intelligence theory the child might be. He will learn in an easier way if he is
taught with activities he feels comfortable and free to express himself.
In my experience I worked with five groups of different gardes. The numbers of students
varied from 28 to 35 in each group. However, they learn very quickly. I will make examples
of similar words that have similar sound in their L1 to the L2. Consequently, I will apply
activities where they will have to identify which word I mean. E.g. I will teach the words
three and tree. Students will have to repeat several times then I will say the word and they
are going to say in Spanish what was the word meaning. I am going to do that for a week but
later I will make the activity more interesting. I will read a sentence and they will have to
say what the sentence mean. As the time goes by, I will notice that children depending
their age will have different needs and the pace of learning will be dissimilar and want of
different activities and materials. Thus, I will have to get song for chidlren of sixth grade
and more images for students of first and third grade.
The images can be really useful cause for things like the example above for first grade
children are eager to repeat and relate images with sounds.
One of the problems that I may have it is that different ages children that requeired
different activities. For example, children form sixth grade need more acivites like songs
and games instead of images and fewer movements. Same activities for all groups may get
students distracted, and even it will make the class be bored.
Other problem would be that there are students who have Maya as firt language and they
have Spanish as second language an then English as third language.
The problem is that they may be learning Spanish and barely understand Spanish.
Consecuently, I would not able to communicate with them in Maya because I do
not know the language. So, must of the activities would be difficult for them and
they will not able to do it or they will get bored for not understanding Spanish nor
When creating material, it would be a problem because it is time consuming and
sometimes could be inadequate for the grade, age or even with the children’s
For the first problem one can read about Piagets and know more about the stages
he sugests. That way, one can know how a child behaves and what kind of activity
and materials are suitbale according to students’ needs.
For the second problem, I think is important that teachers learn few words of
maya like giving isntruction and that way the child will understand and he/she will
relate his/her L1 to the third language and will feel more confident and not
frustrated or bored for not understanding the directions of the activies.
Finally, creating material is realy hard. Nonetheless, one can ask other teachers to
exchange materials and this saves time and one learns from others. Besides, it is
crucial to care of the material you create because making the material everlasting
means that you can reuse the materials and saves time, money, and frustration
when think up an idea for a class depending the age of the students.
Teaching pronunciation to EFL children is a hard task but it could be rewarding. I need
to identify what activities are suitable for children depending their age. I will make
worksheets where students have to fill in the gabs when listening to a recording. Other
activities are that I say a word and students have to draw the word that they listen to.
However; this may take from two to three weeks, later on I can make students pass and
produce the laguage after they had practiced the words through that time. I will separate
those who had been exposed to the laguage before and use them to give examples if
their classmates do not feel confident to say the word.
In addition, I can use images for students from first to fourth grade which they may feel
more familiarized with pictures and find the activity funner. For students of sixth
grade, I can make them learn parts of a song then they will have to sing them and that
way children would feel confident and find the activity hilarious. There might be
moments in which I can give them the lyrics of the song they had learned but the lyric
will be written on piece of paper and they will have to sing the song from that part they
picked in the piece of paper. This could be really successful because when they see the
word in a different text they can predict how to say it and cheer other classmates up to
say a word when they cannot say it or they set right other classmates if one say a word
that is mispronounced.
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I can make recordings where students listen and practice the pronunciation.
First two weeks.
Then, I can make pair of words which have similar sound and make them
write them down in order they can identify each word. This could be for two
When students are better prepared they are given a role and other students
need to identify what they are saying according to the sentences. This could be
done for three weeks.
I can make images where first they are taught the right pronunciation and
they are shown several images and on each image have a similar pronunciation
and they are shown the images. Consequently, Students have to say the right
word according to the images. This could be carried out for a month and it can
be mixed with the other activities in order to reinforce students’ skills.