Reflecting on Pronunciation Class at the End of the Year

ESL Class Pronunciation Class San Jose CAWe had our last ESL English Pronunciation class yesterday. I have been thinking about what worked well this year, and what could be improved.  I love to survey the students at the end of the year.  Their responses help me to get a better idea of what they liked and didn’t like.  Here’s a free printable of my class “end-of-the-year” class survey.

They all wanted more talking time.  That shouldn’t surprise me since teachers talking too much is the No. 1 complaint of ESL learners everywhere!  So next year I’m going to use my student teachers to break into small groups more often.

The homework I give is really effective. Developed after 5 years of teaching, I’m pleased with the homework portion of class.  I give students a listening assignment – using web sources, they pick one audio clip (about 1 minute), listen to it, then write a brief summary of what the audio clip was about. In class they read their paragraph outloud.  This homework targets listening, writing, grammar, vocabulary and speaking. So the words they use to recall the paragraph are the words they read out in class.  This is different from reading a random paragraph the teacher chooses.  Because it actually targets the real vocabulary and grammar the students use!  See my previous post on listening homework with a free printable of my Pronunciation Class Homework.

They wanted grammar correction.  Since I focus on helping them pronounce English I usually stick to sounds, linking, reductions  and intonation in sentences and conversation.  I have not been correcting grammar very much, or very explicitly.  Since the class is only 1 hour, 40 minutes (and a few of them arrive late) they really isn’t much time to correct grammar.  I might be able to improve this if I use my student teachers in small groups more.

I want to try using more movement in class next year.  mostly I just taught at the front of hte class and wrote on the board.  I’d like to do more picture description too.  I think this may stretch the students even more.

Jaw Stability/Jaw Grading in Tongue Thrust

TongueThrust Eng Vowel Ex Pix page jpgIf you have a student or client with tongue thrust (as known as oral myofunctional disorder)  you may need some information about the jaw.

Learn more about the jaw here and see my resources for therapy ideas on Teachers Pay Teachers.com.

Vowel QuadrilateralThe vowels are often affected by the position of the jaw. If you are teaching English pronunciation to a foreign-born speaker, they may improve their low vowels /ae/ as in /cat/, and /ah/ as in /pot/, if they open their mouth wider (move their jaw to a low jaw position).

See my free printable English Vowel Quadrilateral here.

See my free printable Mouth Openings Pictures & Words Page here.

The entire Tongue Thrust/Jaw Stability handout packet is available on TeachersPayTeachers.

10 Ways to Improve your English

10 Ways to Improve Your EnglishImprove_English_ESL_classes_SanJose_CA

Speaking

1.Join an ESL class for regular practice in English.

2.Practice with a native English speaker every day for a few minutes. Tell your American friend, neighbor or workmate you are trying to improve your English, and ask them to chat with you each day.

3.Learn English sounds and pronunciation rules. Most helpful to learn are TH, R,L and the different vowel sounds. Use the expected stress in longer words. Learn to link your words together smoothly in a sentence, and not pronounce each word separately.

Listening

4.Watch TV programs with the subtitles on. Pre-recorded shows are best. Newscasts and live shows will have a lag between the dialogue and the printed caption.

5.“Eavesdrop” on English speakers around you. Listen to others conversations and try to figure out what they’re saying.

6.Listen to books on CD. It may help to have the printed book to look at as you listen. Listen without text for an added challenge. Check you public library for books on CD.

Reading

7.Read “easy reader” or “graded readers” children’s books. Your public library has hundreds of easy readers in the ‘juvenile’ section.

Writing

8.Write more in English – letters, emails, cards, or keep a diary.

Vocabulary

9.Keep a small notebook handy for jotting down new words and their meanings. Review your list and use new words in a sentence to help memorize them.

General

10.Make a goal for your English learning. Setting a goal is the best way to improve a skill.

Click here for the free printable 10 Ways to Improve Your English.

(Reprinted with permission – original post 4/23/12015)

New Tongue Thrust Printables

Tongue Thrust TherapyPlease stop by my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I’ve published some useful materials for working with students who tongue thrust.

Tongue Thrust Exercises and Activities

Tongue Thrust Words and Sentences

Paper Suck Tic Tac Toe

What is tongue thrust and why is it important to correct?  A heavy force such as chewing only occupies a small amount of time each day.  Contrast that with swallowing at every meal, as well as the regular swallowing of saliva.  Swallowing happens hundreds of times each day and night.

For some, the tongue is not positioned correctly for the hundreds of times each day and night that swallowing occurs.  Instead of lifting up against the roof of the mouth as it should, the tongue stays low and “thrusts” forward, and often through the teeth. Others rest their tongue in a more forward position than expected.  This constant force is tongue thrust, and creates a space between the teeth that impacts the normal development of the teeth, tongue, lips, jaw and face.  It often impacts clear and understandable speech.  All babies use tongue thrust as a safety mechanism when eating.  But children are expected to grow out of this by age 5 – 7.

Use the search above to look for tongue thrust, also called myofunctional disorders.

 

 

Linking Vowel to Vowel Using W or Y

Linking Vowel to VowelLinking a vowel to a vowel in English will sound smoother with adding a W or a Y sound.

Here are the rules.

Rule #1.  When a word ending in iy, ey, ay or oy is followed by a vowel, use Y

  • Be a sport = Beya sport.
  • Play a game = Playa game.
  • Tie it up = Tiyit up.
  • Employ a professional = Employa professional.

Rule #2.  When  a word ending in uw, ow or aw is followed by a vowel , use W

  • through it all = throughwit all
  • slow and steady = slowand steady
  • How are you? = Howare you?

See the free printable here (includes teacher notes and key.) These pages are from this resource for linking Hawaii EDU Pronunciation

Tongue Twister Fun

Tongue Twisters ESL English PronunciationTongue Twisters are poems that are tricky to pronounce, even for native speakers!

Trying to say a tongue twister poem fast often has hilarious results!  But they can be very good practice when you say them slowly.  Here are a few of my favorites: She Sells Seashells, Peter Piper and How Much Wood?

  • She sells seashells by the seashore.
  • The shells she sells are surely seashells.
  • So if she sells shells by the seashore,
  • I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

Hear the audio clip She Sells Seashells.

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  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • If Peter Piper Picked a peck of pickled peppers,
  • Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Hear the audio clip Peter Piper.

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  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
  • If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Hear the audio clip How Much Wood?

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Click here for a free printable worksheet – Tongue Twisters

Shortcut for Pronouncing -ed Endings

Shortcut -ed endingsPronouncing -ed endings correctly makes a big difference.  When a student can pronounce the -ed endings he will be much easier to understand.  Comprehensible English is the goal of accent modification.

There is a common method of teaching -ed endings by using /d/, /t/ and /id/.  This was a little confusing for my lower students, so I developed a “shortcut” to pronouncing -ed endings.

Words ending in T or D, add ‘id’ and say it as a separate syllable.

Words ending in all other sounds, add “d” and DON’T say it as a separate syllable.

Important tip!  Beginning D is said with a puff of air.  Ending D is said with NO PUFF OF AIR!  This is helpful, when students say “gooda” for good,  “hadda” for had, “playeda” for played or “moveda” for moved. No puff of air here will help your student’s English to be more comprehensible.

See the free printable Pronouncing -ed Shortcut handout here.

Have fun speaking English!

Reducing “Your” and “Our”

Pronouncing your our Accent Reduction Classes San Jose CAHave you learned these common reductions of English?

  • “gonna” is a reduction of “going to”
  • “hafta” is a reduction of “have to”
  • “I wanna” is a reduction of “I want to…”
  • “I gotta…” is a reduction of “I’ve got to…”

Some think reduced English forms are lazy or sloppy, BUT THEY ARE NOT.  Reduced forms are EXPECTED in most conversations, in both casual and formal settings. Your American listener is expecting reductions of English grammar in order to communicate in a fast and efficient way.

English listeners are also expecting linking.  See my previous post on How Linking Improves your Pronunciation.

Reducing your and our is very common in conversation. Your (also you’re)  is reduced to yer, and our is reduced to ar.  Some examples might sound like this:

  • Is he coming to yer house?
  • I want to see yer boss.
  • Yer going to college? (you’re)
  • I want yer opinion.
  • Should we go away for ar anniversary?
  • Ar class is cancelled today.
  • An animal dug up ar yard.
  • Ar post office is closed now.

See my 2016 free printable on reductions here.

 

 

 

Short A & Short O Minimal Pairs

Short A English Pronunciation Accent ReductionWhen working with myofunctional or accent reduction clients, it’s important to look at tongue placement and jaw height.

I’m working with a young man who substitutes short O for short A. His Dad sounds like dodd, his sack sounds like sock, and his laugh sound like loff.

It means he uses the right jaw height for short A (as is cat) , with a low jaw, but holds his tongue too far back in his mouth and says short O (as in cot).  He needs to put his tongue forward in his mouth for a correct short A sound.

The best success we’ve had is when he does minimal pairs, like

  • sad vs. sod
  • happy vs. hoppy
  • shack vs. shock
  • gnat vs. not

By practicing minimal pairs you’ll train the brian to hear the difference between sounds, and get better at producing the correct sound when needed.  See my free printable minimal pairs worksheet for short A/short O/ short U.

See my free printable practice list of short A here.