Teaching pronunciation is so important, but you may find it challenging if you have students from many different countries in your classroom. Some students may have one issue while the others don’t share the same problem. One way to help cater pronunciation lessons to all students’ needs is to encourage students to practice on their own with feedback happening during class time. This will help foster autonomous learning as well as train the students to focus on their particular pronunciation needs.
Here are some basic steps to follow to encourage pronunciation self-evaluation and practice:
1. Tell the students that they will be doing the majority of these steps in the privacy of their own home/a private spot of their choosing. This will relieve stress and give them a lot of time for individual practice. If this is the first time you have asked your students to do something like this, you could start out by doing the following during class time as long as each student is able to record themselves in private.
2. Identify the pronunciation needs of each student. Prepare or find a text/transcript in which the pronunciation needs of the student are prevalent. Have the student practice this text alone and record it (Most students have a voice memo app on their cell phones, but if they don’t have this mybrainshark.com is a nice free resource. All you need is access to a phone and you can call in and your voice will be recorded and saved under your account on the website.).
3. After the student has recorded themselves speaking their text, they will compare their recorded text to a model. If you have prepared the text, then you will have to give the student a recorded model that you have made (Again, mybrainshark.com is great!). If you are using an authentic text, the student will need access to this recorded model in order to compare.
4.After comparing their recording to the model, they then make changes in their speech to match the model’s. The student will practice and record again. The student can repeat this stage as many times as they like if you are having them do this at home/on their own.
5. The last step is to follow up with each student, either individually, in groups, or as a whole class. This all depends on the class dynamic. Talking about pronunciation issues can be a very sensitive topic, it all depends on how comfortable your students are with each other. At first, it can be a good idea to have individual conferences in which you listen to the first student self-recording and the last self-recording and workshop the student’s pronunciation one-on-one. However, it is really fun/helpful to have the students workshop pronunciation issues in small groups while you monitor and give feedback. If you have a small class, you can also do it as a whole group.