5 Pronunciation Tips And Techniques For Online English ESL Teachers

Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced teacher in the field of ESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), one area which can often be daunting is the prospect of teaching the art of pronunciation. Although this can be challenging it can also be extremely rewarding.

Here we look at 5 Pronunciation tips for 'Online English ESL teachers and tutors'

Why Is Correct Pronunciation Important?

Put simply, without the correct pronunciation it can be very hard for other people to understand what is being said. Even for a student who has a large vocabulary, understanding of grammatical rules or strong reading and writing skills, if they are unable to pronounce words properly communication can very easily breakdown. Moreover, if students are unable to correctly pronounce a word, they themselves are often unable to hear it when spoken by a different person.

Here are 5 general tips aimed to help English ESL teachers.

1) Be Aware Of Accents - We all have an accent. Teachers need to be aware that students from different languages will have different pronunciation issues. Many sounds found in the English language do not necessarily exist in other languages.  For example, a student may pronounce the sentence "What a cute labbit" rather than "What a cute rabbit", if the students'  language does not include an "r" sound, rather an "l" sound.

2) Focus On Sound -   As already stated accents and different languages can lead to issues with pronunciation. Educate your students in the differences between the sounds and how they should sound in English. Use or draw diagrams to demonstrate to the students the necessary positions of teeth, tongues and lips in order for the student to copy or familiarize themselves with the new terms. It is also possible to show the students flash animations or short video clips to cover the different  mouth movements and shapes required.

3) Be Flexible in Your Teaching Style - Different students learn in different ways. For some, physical repetition and "chanting" of terms may work best. However, for others it may be the use of diagrams and pictures or images. Find what works best for your students and be flexible in your teaching style and approach.

4) Be Creative - Employ the use of songs or poems. Ask the student to "chant", "sing" or even memorise certain texts. Not only can this be fun, but it can really help the student learn how to pronounce certain words. Why not set the student some homework to memorise a certain passage from a poem or song.

5) Give Feedback - Ensure you provide good feedback to students about how well they are saying things. Provide solutions to issues they may be having and help boost their confidence.

The following video portrays a classic example of how much fun can be had with pronunciation, even with a sentence as simple as "I would like to buy a hamburger."

For those wishing to learn or teach pronunciation tips and techniques, please contact the team on admin@learnbycam.com

(1) Comments

  • Monica VSaturday, April 21, 2012

    Sometimes pronunciation seems like the most mysterious part of language learning, so it's good to see practical tips. I have a lot of faith in tongue diagrams after learning to roll my Spanish Rs using them, so I recommend them for the more challenging sounds in English too. Monica V, www.thamesvalleysummer.com

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