Teaching Tip 4: Pronunciation
- Model the word yourself. (This means you say it in a normal
way to the students). Then get the students to repeat it after you, all
together like in a chorus until they get it nearly right. Dont worry if
they arent perfect. Who is?
- Then model the word again and ask individual students to
repeat the word after you.
- You could put the word on the board and ask the students how
many syllables it has and then practise some stress placement. Ask them which
is the stressed (strong) syllable. For example:
before = 2 syllables be
FORE = The second syllable is stressed.
after = 2 syllables AF ter = The
first syllable is stressed.
computer = 3 syllables com PU ter = The second
syllable is stressed.
afternoon = 3 syllables af ter NOON = The third
syllable is stressed.
If you know the phonetic alphabet you could write
the words in that too.
- It helps the students to improve their pronunciation which
is very important because theres very little point in students learning a
new word, learning what it means and how to use it in a sentence, if no one
understands them when they say it because their pronunciation is so
- Doing a little pronunciation work can fill time here and
there in a lesson. Its especially useful as a filler (a quickie activity
to fill those few minutes at the end of a lesson when youve run out of
material but its a little too early to let the students go).
If youre planning to do some syllable work or stress
placement or use the phonetic alphabet its a good idea to write the
words, syllables, stress and phonetic spelling down before the lesson because,
I dont know about you, but I find it hard to do it spontaneously during
the lesson! For some reason I get muddled and write the stress on the wrong
If you want to do some stress placement work but you dont
know which syllable is stressed, look in a dictionary, especially one for
students - it will have the stress indicated, usually by an apostrophe thingy.
The syllable after the apostrophe thingy is the stressed one, usually.
For example: be'fore 'after com'puter after'noon
If you look in the first few pages of the dictionary it will
explain how it indicates stress placement. Not all dictionaries indicate it in
the same way. (For more information about dictionaries in general see
© Liz Regan 2003