This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.
What are your overall views on pronunciation activities in published materials such as coursebooks?
How often do you write pronunciation activities for your own resources? How easy/difficult do you think these materials are to create?
What staging principles do you follow when writing pronunciation activities?
Are the stages you follow based on research, teacher experience and intuition, or both?
I’ve finally got my hands on a copy of this book! Woohoo!
What can I say? I’ve a keen interest in the topic of English as a Lingua Franca. ELF was a buzzword during my BA, well before I entered teaching, as my tutors included Jennifer Jenkins and Martin Dewey. This topic also relates to my recent MA dissertation, so I’ve been very eager to see how the authors puts a practical spin on the topic.
As far as I’m concerned, a comprehensive resource that deals with the practical application on ELF is long overdue. The authors, Marek Kiczkowiak and Robert Lowe, mention that “ELF researchers have either been very cautious, or perhaps even neglectful, of the practical applications of their studies” (pg 13). I agree, hence I instantly recognise the value of this resource and what it sets out to achieve. (more…)
Sharing my recent MA dissertation for general interest. I say ‘general interest’, but I imagine the interest will be extremely specific! Here’s the title:
Pronunciation materials in an A2/B1 level British Council Adult General English course in Thailand – do they meet the needs of the learners?
The main reason I chose this topic is because it is applicable to my context and my own learners. I wanted to analyse our current resources and affect some kind of change, if any was needed. Alas, it has had very little impact.
In hindsight, I really regret choosing this topic. I enjoyed a lot of the reading, and the research has informed my own practice. However, I knew there were institutional constraints from the start. The sample size is so limited, it serves only to have an impact on my immediate context and nothing beyond that really. Plus, if I’m honest, there are a billion other topics in ELT I’m more interested in!
I don’t want to completely put you off, but the literature review is sparse, there are assumptions made about the value of the Lingua Franca Core, and some of the questioning methods are leading. Still, ya know, I’m accountable for that – my tutor was great and really pulled this study into line. Alan Pulverness, kudos!
More PronPack in class today. I’m just making a quick note of a follow-up activity I did – worked well.
I used ‘Stress Jigsaw’, a cool activity for raising awareness of contrastive stress. It involves matching questions with the correct answer, using the tonic stress in the answer as a clue. Here is a pic, but not of all the matching pairs as the publishers might not be happy with that… (more…)
I’ve been using PronPack a bit in class recently. I was going to review it, but I think it’s more interesting to write about how I’m using it instead.
I’ve just taught my teen classes the phonemic chart and we’ve been identifying some of the sounds they have difficulties with. Hancock’s Vowel Breakout (Book 2) was a good springboard for practice the other day. If you are unfamiliar, this is an activity where learners find their way out of a maze by following a path of words which include a certain sound.
I used this task as a quick review of our vowel focus the previous week, but I extended it by getting learners to make their own mazes for sounds they found difficult/problematic to produce or identify. (more…)
Here’s my suggested reading list for the phonology component of the DipTESOL. I don’t want to mislead you – the course is 9 months long (depending) and you’ve a lot to do during that time. I’m not saying you should read all of them, but it’s worth getting hold of a few – particularly the classroom-focused ones. I shared a few articles in this recent post which might also be of interest.
I’m trying to persuade our DipTESOL students to engage with some pronunciation-related research. I’ve hand-picked these five articles for their relevance to our context (well, the last one is more general), and I’ll be sharing them with our candidates this week. Thought I’d chuck them on the blog as well, as others might be interested in them. I’ve left in the reasons why I’ve chosen them for the candidates here – you might find they connect similarly to your own context. (more…)