I have suggested that pronunciation is the CINDERELLA of language teaching in that it has been neglected, and become disconnected from other language learning activities. However I claim that if we pay attention to this Cinderella we will find something truly magnificent in terms of engagement for learners, impact on the rest of language learning, and enjoyment.
Two ways to reconnect with pronunciation teaching…
1. Students and teachers need a MAP in order to have a clear mental concept and sense of direction.
2. Pronunciation needs to be PHYSICAL. While grammar and vocabulary may somehow take place “in the head,” pronunciation is the physical aspect of language. It manifests through the body, like football or kung fu. Pronunciation is like an extraordinary dance, which has sequence, coordination, grace and beauty.
Regarding the MAP:
This phonemic chart provides the MAP because information about WHERE & HOW sounds are made is embedded in it. This chart is not just a list like some other charts. The arrangement of sounds on this chart tells you about how to make them. And … the chart also becomes a worktable, a place to enquire and experiment, and where mistakes can become successes.
Regarding making pronunciation PHYSICAL:
This approach has a methodology to enable you and your students to discover and connect with the muscles that make the difference, to locate what I call the internal buttons. So, you can start by discovering and engaging the muscles that change the sounds. And this changes everything. And also since muscles work by moving, we gain access to the visibility of pronunciation.
In summary I am proposing that by using a mental map and by making pronunciation physical we can demystify pronunciation, bring it in from the cold, and relate to it fully and profitably.
Your comments ….
Do you think that pronunciation teaching is in any way the Cinderella of language teaching?
Do you have techniques or tricks for using the phonemic chart, or for making pronunciation physical?
I’m looking forward to our conversation….
My next post will discuss The first pron lesson with learners.
Meanwhile you can explore my guided tour of the phonemic chart at <http://www.macmillanenglish.com/webinars>
And extracts from my pronunciation workshop with teachers at www.youtube.com/macmillanelt