Teaching Pronunciation: From Mechanical Practice to Spontaneous Conversations

Teaching pronunciation with English conversation activitiesFollowing is a list of teaching pronunciation activities that will take the ESL/EFL learner from mechanical practice to using and producing the sound in free and spontaneous conversations.

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1. Hear the difference?  Simple sentences – Teaching Pronunciation

a- After practicing the individual sounds and the sounds in words, think of minimal pair words containing the problematic sound and create contrasting sentences. Example: ‘I have a cat’ and ‘I have a cut’. Read one of the sentences and get the students to underline the sentence they hear.

I have a cat.           I have a cut.

b- Have the students read each sentence. This exercise should go from slow to fast to give them practice in fluency as well.

c- Pair the students up and have them read the sentences they have chosen from the list while their partners circle the sentences they hear.

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 2. Identifying Sounds – Teaching Pronunciation

a- Write sentences containing words with the problematic sound. Get the students to read the sentences and underline all the words that contain the sound they have been practicing in that lesson.

b- Make sure that they get them right. Some words are tricky.

c- Have the students read each sentence paying particular attention to the sounds but avoiding unnatural speech. Have them start slow first but encourage them to say the sentence faster each time. This is also a good opportunity to work on sentence stress and linking sounds.

3. Role-Play or Discussion – Teaching Pronunciation

This is the stage where students should be able to use the sounds they have been practicing in natural conversation.

a- Give your students a situation and roles to play. Group them and let them organize their ideas before they perform their role-play in front of the class.

b- Give the students a list of questions or topics to talk about.

It is advisable to record their conversations or discussions so that they can check their progress.

4-Games: Pair Work / Group Work – Teaching Pronunciation

Game-like activities are good for consolidating the sounds students have learned as well as integrating pronunciation into other skills such as speaking, listening, reading and writing. They are also useful for reviewing some grammar topics as well as vocabulary and spelling.

5- Funny sentences – Teaching Pronunciation

Have students work in pairs or groups and write funny sentences including the sound(s) they have been practicing. Give students a time limit for this activity. The group that comes up with the longest list of correct sentences is the winner. After the game, identify the sounds in each word.

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